Thanksgiving and My Dad

November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day can have many different meanings depending on who you talk to.  Today, the day after, I have some feelings that I have never really spoken about so, here goes. 

I have felt for a long time that the beauty and joy of the holiday season is that it is a time to be with those you care about.  To me, Christmas has transcended from a religious holiday (and  please know I am not trying to make it less if that is what it is for you) to be a celebration of everything that is good about us.  The holiday season is a time to be with family and friends, to share the highs and lows of the last year, to reflect on where we are. 

I have a lot to be thankful and grateful for.  I have a wife who has been by my side for almost 22 years of marriage and has given me two sons all of whom I love dearly.  I have been blessed to be able to practice dentistry for almost 29 years now and I truly believe I have the best patients in the entire world.  The list goes on and on.

But today, I want to give my biggest Thanksgiving “Thanks” to my Mom and Dad.  My wife and boys and dogs were at my parent’s house yesterday for a really cozy Thanksgiving dinner and as usual, the wife and Mom hit a home run with the food.  And I know that my Dad loved it because he ate more than I have seen him eat in a long time.  I love my Mom dearly, but today I have to let Dad know how grateful I am for him.

My dad was pretty much like most of the dads were when I was a kid.  He worked hard and provided for us the best he could.  Let me be honest, I couldn’t have asked for any more.  Everything I needed was always there, and there was so much more.  I have so much to be grateful for.

My dad taught me how important charity was; he gave so much of himself to his community, both with his time and his money.  My dad gave me an opportunity to learn about spirituality and religion and he gave me the opportunity to go to college and dental school. 

He set up his home so that all of his children understood what commitment was and why you needed to have a strong work ethic.  When he needed to he would take me aside and tell me if he was disappointed in something I was doing and give me his guidance to make amends.  He taught me about family, and how it should always come first.

My dad is 84 years old now and slowing down. And somehow, even though he doesn’t go on the computer anymore I will make sure he reads this.

“Dad, if I haven’t told you this enough, I want you to know how much I appreciate every sacrifice you have made in your life for me.  I would not be the person I am today if it were not for you and I only hope I can be ½ the father to my kids that you have been to me.  I love you Dad, always have and always will.”

Maybe Lennon and McCartney had it right

November 20, 2010

Are there people in your life that amaze you with all they get accomplished in the course of a day? I have no idea how some of my mentors in life get everything done that they do. They lecture, they publish, they run businesses, and they have families. I vote for the Beatles “ 8 Days A Week “, I just need an extra day a week so I have the opportunity to get a little more done, to get further on some projects and of course to spend more time with my incredible wife and two great kids. Somehow I don’t think I am going to get my wish…but it’s nice to dream.

So, how does this tie in to my concept of Conscious Prevention. Simple, the healthier we are the more we are able to get accomplished. There are so many aspects of being healthy, both mental and physical. Lucky for me there are plenty of mentors around to help me.

In the past I have written about a 90 minute presentation on youtube called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”. It has actually been a game changer for me, it got me to realize that I could no longer talk about the day I would start eating healthier and that I should start right then and there. That was several months ago and I feel much better, have lost weight and am getting compliments about the new me (the ultimate carrot and the end of the stick)

I revisited the presentation and found that there was a short synopsis of it called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth(the Short version) and it is only 12 minutes long. A gentleman by the name of Sean Croxton breaks down the heavy biochemistry of the long version into easy to understand bites and explains so well why a calorie is not a calorie. Here are some of the highlights from his presentation.

1. During WWII average consumption of fructose (mostly from fruit) was 16-24 grams a day. Today, in 2010 the average consumption of fructose is up to almost 73 grams a day.
2. Sucrose (table sugar) is made of both glucose and fructose. The same amount of calories of sucrose (compared to glucose) can lead to a 3 times higher production of VLDL a type of cholesterol that has lots of triglycerides in it.
3. The body does not use any of the calories from fructose or High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) for normal metabolism, all of the fructose and HFCS is sent to the liver for detox.
4. The byproducts of the liver metabolizing fructose and HFCS can be hypertension, heart disease, obesity, insulin resistance, fatty liver and the inability to feel full when eating (leading to always being hungry)

If you don’t have time to watch the full 90 minute check out “The Short Version” at It is short but full of info. You can also check out more about Sean at his website called He is someone committed to educating all he can to live a healthier lifestyle.

What’s in Your Wallet?

November 14, 2010

Ok, I am stealing this headline from a successful commercial, but I got your attention didn’t I.  Some of the commercials in this campaign are pretty good.  I sure wish they would start showing those “Taste Great, Less Filling” commercials from years ago (this shows my age right?)

So why do I ask “what’s in your wallet?” This past summer I was attending one of the most forward dental meetings there is, the World Congress for Minimally Invasive Dentistry.  The key note speaker was discussing how patients look at dentistry.  He asked us a question….How much do you think the average patient budgets for dental costs in the course of a year?  (Hence the headline what’s in your wallet).  I hope the answer doesn’t surprise you but it is ZERO.  Really, the vast majority of people, when they plan their monthly or yearly budgets don’t have a column in there for dental expenses.  I get it.  I don’t even know how many of us budget for medical expenses (I just plan on my deductible)

So, if we don’t plan to spend money on dentistry doesn’t it make sense that we should take the time to try and prevent our mouths from needing dental treatment to begin with.  It’s kind of like an apple a day keeps the doctor away or an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure.  It’s what I have been saying for the last several years, the need for dental treatment is preventable.  So if you are not going to include any money in your budget for dental care can you meet me half way and start brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day.  And there is an added benefit to improved home care, increased overall health.

I make a living out of restoring broken down teeth.  And guess what?  The vast amount of work we do in dentistry is replacing restorations that are failing for a variety of reasons.  This brings me back to prevention, especially for our children.  Take care of your teeth and you won’t need restorations to begin with.

For more info on how to prevent cavities and gum disease you can find everything you need on the internet or call your dentist.

Are there such things as healthy addictions?

November 6, 2010

I say yes.  Or maybe obsession might be another word to describe my own personal truth.  I have become obsessed with learning more about what I can do to keep me healthier.  A large part of this is dealing with me being someone who contributes to society in a positive way.  After all one’s emotional health is important.  I recently have narrowed  this part of my life to how can I be a better husband, a better father and a better leader in my dental office.  Easier said than done, but something that I am being very vigilant about improving.  Some days I actually fall off of the wagon a bit, thankfully I have some really great friends and coaches to help me get back on.  And I have been falling less lately which really helps.

The other aspect of staying healthier is much easier to measure.  I can look in the mirror and see I have lost weight.  I got the blood test results from my physical late last week.  It is nice to get the carrot for my work in changing how I eat.  Smoking great numbers like my cholesterol/HDL ratio of 3.4, triglycerides at 51 and my C-reactive protein at 0.02 (this is a risk indicator of disease in your body and one of the best indicators for a potential heart attack). 

Recently I was an office and started reading the Men’s Health magazine and found it to be just full of little snippets about health, diet, exercise and grooming to name a few.  So I subscribed to it for my dental office.  I also got Woman’s Health as well.  What a great place to get some info to put into my blogs, ezines etc.   But after reading through both of them today I realized there is so much more, I highly recommend you get them, read them and if you only make one change a month from reading it you can make 12 significant changes a year to improve your health.  YOUR BODY WILL THANK YOU FOR IT.  For me I am going to incorporate Craig Alexander’s (Triathlon World Champion) push up routine to increase health and strength of my whole body. 

These magazines have some interesting articles as well.  For Women and Men please read in the November issue of Women’s Health “If You’ve Ever Had Oral Sex..You Need to Read This”  It is an excellent read about the relationship of the HPV virus and oral cancer, particularly in young women who do not fit the previously thought of profile of someone at risk for oral cancer.  10 years ago oral cancer was nearly always in males, over the age of 50 and heavy smokers and drinkers.  Today, roughly 25% of oral cancers are related to the HPV virus, 25% of victims are females with cases reported as young as 19 years old.  Good news if there is any is that HPV oral Cancers react to treatment well with a higher survival rate than non HPV oral cancers.  If you are not getting checked for oral cancer at your dentists office ask why?

The Men’s Health November issue has an article titles “Do You Hate Fat People?”.   I found this fascinating as I have always felt the most discriminated group of people in the world are the fat people.  This article discusses that along with issues from both sides of the arguments regarding obese individuals.  These sides are the ones that look at health issues and costs verses the group that say “Fat is Flabulous” and say there should just be acceptance of fat people.  A very good read with some insights as to why both sides have valid points for how they feel.

Let me close with this…I am obsessed or addicted to learning about health.  If I can get just one person to just think about doing something for their health then I have helped to save a world. (According to Maimonides, the responsibility to preemptively protect someone from death of a single human life is equivalent to saving the entire world. …)