Medicinal Freedom

I believe that every individual has he right to consume what they choose to and to also bear the consequences of those choices.

Medicinal Freedom is simply the ability to exercise this natural innate right without restriction from the government.In the near future I believe that we will have true Medicinal Freedom. This means that every individual can buy any and every type of synthetic or natural medicine they choose.

Not only will adults be able to buy any type of medicines they choose, they will also be able to grow our own. This freedom will allow individuals to treat their symptoms and to ease their suffering for a fraction of the cost they can now with even more effective options.Anyone will be able to create their own medicinal garden or backyard pharmacy.

Think of a backyard pharmacy in which you have different strains of Cannabis that have the mix of cannabinoids specific to treat your symptoms. Cannabinoids such as CBD, CBN, and of course THC have been proven to help treat the symptoms of diseases ranging from Migraines to Epilepsy and even in helping to treat cancer.

Along with Cannabis you could grow a medicinal mushroom patch which would include species that can lower cholesterol, help treat cancer, boost your immune system and help to enhance your mental wellbeing. In addition to mushrooms and cannabis many people would choose to grow poppy plants as well.

For thousands of years humans have used the milk of the poppy to ease physical suffering. With a garden full of poppy plants those with pain will no longer have to suffer and be without adequate relief. And that adequate relief will be defined bythe individual not by some suit at the DEA, CDC or FDA or by an ignorant authoritarian grandstanding politician.

In addition to being able to grow our own backyard pharmacy, in an atmosphere of Medicinal Freedom, pharmaceutical companies will no longer be able to hide behind the power of government. They will have to produce much more affordable safer and effective drugs because they will be selling directly to the consumer. Currently they enjoy a diffusion of responsibility because of the FDA, DEA, and the prescription restriction racket.In this new atmosphere of freedom and responsibility Drug companies will have to compete with safe and effective medicines that individuals can grow at home. Further competition will come from new startups that focus on harnessing the power of nature to cure, treat and prevent diseases. These new market forces will cause drug companies to change what products they produce as well as how they sell them.

I can envision a future in which Pfizer and Merk will open their own retail locations. They could even have doctors in their stores to offer free health consultations and even free blood tests. This would be an effort to keep you in their product ecosystem. Other drug companies who don’t have a direct retail presence will choose to sell their offerings at places like Walmart or even through Amazon. Drug safety in this environment would actually increase. Right now the FDA protects drug companies by allowing them to sell products that kill and maim millions of people. The corrupt prescription and patent system allow them to rake in Billions in profits which they are then able to settle the lawsuits for their dangerous products.Without the shield of the FDA drug companies will be no different than any other company in America. They will have to produce a safe product or be held responsible. Third party testing companies will emerge as well to increase safety. Drug companies or natural medicine companies could charge a premium for having their product’s purity and safety verified. Online reviews would also help people make the decision whether to buy a medicine or not. This collective type of wisdom is how humanity determined what was safe to eat or what was effective as medicines for millennia.When we have true Medicinal Freedom drug safety will be increased, healthcare costs will plummet, new more effective natural medicines will be brought to market, and individuals will be able to grow their own backyard pharmacy.Brad Miller Fellow Human

Stoicism, Anxiety and Chronic Illness

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” Marcus Aurelius

I’ve hated holidays, weekends and especially my birthday ever since I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at the age of 11. There were emotional, social and physical factors that caused me to dread of these cultural happy events. I still feel anxious when my family mentions going on holiday or when my brothers are planning a fishing or hunting trip. The anxiety wells up because I want to participate but I know that pain, fatigue, fear of new environments, and changes of schedule will 9 times out of 10 back out of going or if I do go I’ll not enjoy myself. That’s because the problem with being chronically ill and in constant pain is that my body and mind are the cause of my miserable state. And I’ve been miserable most of my life and especially during these so called happy times.

I used to think that my reaction to life, my anxiety and fear surrounding holidays, weekends and my birthday was a character defect. I thought that I was mentally weak because I couldn’t consistently overcome my negative thought patterns to build a life I was proud of. During these “happy times” I was always reminded about how much was missing in my life because of my chronic pain and chronically feeling like shit. I don’t have a mate, I don’t have my own place, I don’t have a social life…The don’t have list was constantly on my mind during these events or prevented me from participating all together.

The mental anxiety was warranted because I would get physically ill because of changes in my eating, drinking and resting patterns.  This coupled with the host of negative emotions of being different, worrying about passing gas through my stoma (uncontrollably) and the prospect of experiencing the humiliation of filing someone’s home with the horrific smell that only an ileostomy can produce produced near panic levels of anxiety. Needless to say I’ve not been very socially active in the past 30 years.

I’ve only been to one Christmas party in the last ten years. And I was miserable the whole time. The bathroom was in the kitchen where a lot of people were congregated, there was almost nothing I could eat there without being sick, and on top of that I was in horrific pain. The anxiety of having to dump my bag in the bathroom right beside the kitchen was horrible. So I waited as long as I could but I finally had to give in or my bag would start leaking and then I’d have to tell my brother and his family I had to go home. Ruining other people’s good time is another one of my constant fears as well. I still feel sick to my stomach when I remember the anxiety of dumping my bag there. Going to new places and being away from my home bathroom is a huge deal to me. I’ve actually developed a small kit I carry with along with useful strategies that help me feel less anxious and more in control of my ileostomy variables. (I’ll share my tips and what I carry in my small kit in later posts)

Being chronically ill actually changes the way my brain functions. It has been shown recently that the immune system (lymphatic system) is directly connected to the brain. And nuero-plasticity science pioneered by Dr. Michael Merzenich author of  the book “Soft-Wired” writes about how the brain can be rewired throughout our lives. When we focus intently on something this can strengthen connections between certain neurons and weaken connections between others. These connections are associated with learning, actions and emotions.I’ve allowed negative thoughts to become runaway mental trains that soon overtake all other thoughts while I’m sick and these have create tracks or pathways that become easier and easier to fall in to each time I indulge negative thoughts and allow anxiety to overcome me. But I know that I have the power to further rewire my brain to undo the damage and  that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been drawn to Stoicism. Stoicism is an ancient belief that teaches that we are in control of what we determine is good or bad and that having a positive peaceful mental state is the only thing that is needed for a happy life.

http://www.soft-wired.com

https://news.virginia.edu/illimitable/discovery/theyll-have-rewrite-textbooks (article on the physical connection between the immune system and the brain)

The power to rewire the human brain can have be used for positive and negative effect. Unfortunately  when I’m really sick I tend to lose the rational ability to think and focus on concepts like neuro-plasticity and I fall into old thought patterns of what scientists call “sickness behavior”. In fact its been discovered that cytokines, the chemical messengers of the immune system, can have dramatic affects on the brain. The discipline of psychoneuroimmunology studies these effects on the brain. Sickness behavior is what drives animals to be alone when ill, lose their appetite, and display other behaviors like avoidance behavior that we identify with being ill. There are definite chemical changes that happen in the brain when large amounts of cytokines are released into the blood.

http://neuroschoolrome.univ-lille1.fr/faculty/dantzer/bbimmunity07.pdf (in depth look at cytokines and their role in inducing sickness behavior)

As I’ve grown older I’ve discovered ways of overcoming or at least mediating these anxious and negative feelings. Knowledge about my condition and learning how to lesson some of the more unpleasant aspects of having an ileostomy have all been helpful. But I still have trouble with my thought patterns, staying positive, planning for the future, and being active each day consistently working toward specific goals.. Being sick and in pain separates me from “normal life”. I have to force myself to reach out to my family when I’m sick. I have to force myself to try new things and to finish projects I’ve already started. There are certain biological factors that create my “sick brain” and the physiological changes do effect my behavior and thought patterns in powerful ways. Doing everything I can to lower inflammation or lower my over active immune response is key for me to lower the physical threshold I have for living a healthier and happier life, and that includes lowering my stress response to daily life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoneuroimmunology (good overview of this discipline that focuses on the connection between the brain and immune system)

Stoicism is an ancient belief system that developed during the Greek and Roman times. It is a philosophy that focuses on creating a peaceful internal mental state.

“You have power over your mind not outside events” Marcus Aurelius

These are some of the lessons of Stoicism I’ve learned and applied in my life:

  1. Emotions are generated from within
  2. The internal mental state is what is truly important
  3. Your thoughts are powerful and you should guard them accordingly
  4. You have the ability to label an experience good or bad
  5. Live in harmony with nature. Humans are not separate from nature.
  6. Don’t worry about the future. Now is the time to live.
  7. Failure is temporary. It is too be learned from.
  8. Adversity should be viewed as a vehicle for demonstrating virtue – patience, self-compassion, and strength.
  9. Gratitude for what we have is vitally important and creates a peaceful mind
  10. Our life is our responsibility
  11. Being a good friend is one of the best things in the world
  12. Expectations and anticipation can cause unnecessary suffering

“Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca

A lot of times I’ve suffered needlessly because I’ve held on to the expectation that I would live a “normal life”. I missed most of junior high and high school. My biggest relationship I have is with my pain and illness. I’ve had only one serious girlfriend and that was almost twenty years ago. I don’t have kids or have a home of my own. But I can be happy and content in the present without accepting this as fate. Stoicism doesn’t teach apathy. It teaches strength, courage, and tenacity in the face of adversity and focusing on having a peaceful unperturbed mind even though storms rage outside, or rage inside for those of us who are suffering from chronic pain and autoimmune conditions.

“The wish for healing has always been half of health.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Health was a huge concern for the Romans as it is for humans in today’s society. Seneca is one of the three pillars of the Stoic tradition and he understood the connection between the mind and body two thousand years ago. Instead of focusing on everything that is wrong with me I try more and more now to focus on the state of health I want to experience. A strong body that is free of pain and all my organs performing their function properly. This idea also foreshadows the idea of visualization which a lot of health practitioners are recommending to their patients.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/flourish/200912/seeing-is-believing-the-power-visualization

Below  is another one of my favorite quotes. All the Stoic writers were very intelligent and viewed the Stoic philosophy as a practical guide to maximizing a human’s experience on Earth while engaged in living. What I especially like about Seneca is that he participated in life. He was not monk or a priest. He acquired wealth and enjoyed the finer things in life but still he struggled with what I struggle with as well. He suffered later in life with chronic pain and even contemplated suicide. He stuck around because of his father.

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca\

This quote has helped me through some of my worst days. I don’t give myself enough credit. I’ve endured for thirty years pain, fatigue, loneliness, financial struggle, uncertainty, hospital stays, surgery, thousands of needles, countless medications and I’m still here. If you’ve endured or are still enduring with health challenges don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes just getting out of bed and showering are acts of courage. Remember your strength. You can continue to endure and even thrive in the face of adversity. That is a lesson I’ve taken to heart from the Stoics as well.

“There is nothing in the world so much admired as a man who knows how to bear unhappiness with courage.” Seneca

When I read Seneca’s letters which are the main source of the above quotes, its as if he is speaking directly to me. Stoics were interested in helping each other live a happier life through controlling one’s thinking. They could be viewed as some of the first pioneers of the self-help movement and even the hippie new age movement. I used to struggle with the fact I didn’t feel I was a part of nature. I was so flawed that I didn’t even feel “human”. This quote continues to inspire and remind me that I am “natural” no matter how many organs I’m missing or if I have to defecate into a plastic bag.

“Everything is the product of one universal creative effort. There is nothing dead in Nature. Everything is organic and living, and therefore the whole world appears to be a living organism.”  Seneca

I view Stoicism as an anti-inflammatory means of organizing my thoughts. My attitudes and beliefs determine my emotional reaction to external stimuli. I have the power to determine if what I’m experiencing is good or bad. This goes along with what Viktor Frankl wrote during his experience while imprisoned in a concentration camp during WWII.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Applying the teachings of Stoicism in my life helps me to lessen the impact emotions have over my body and mind, helps me to detach emotionally from the outcomes and to accept pain and loss as part of the price of living as a human being. Stoicism isn’t meant to turn me into a robot that has no feeling or passively accept life as it happens. Rather it helps me to experience emotions in a more productive way and that allows for a happier existence in spite of being chronically ill and in near constant pain. Being “stoic” doesn’t just mean suffering in silence. It teaches the old school values that used to be valued in society, patience, kindness, self responsibility, courage, and  having a positive attitude. But the teachings of Stoicism also do help me to endure pain, loneliness, loss, and overcome the anxiety of living chronically ill. I don’t buy into all that Stoicism has to offer. But I do believe in the taking of what is useful from any source and applying it in my own life. And Stoicism is chock full of ideas that I’ve found helpful.

http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/stoicismtoday/what-is-stoicism/ (an excellent primer on the teachings of Stoicism)

Two thing are occurring in my brain when I feel awful. There are chemical changes and also physical changes. Reducing overall inflammation is a great way to limit my the sickness behavior response. One of the best ways for me is to reduce my anxiety and I’ve found Stoicism to be an excellent tool to do this. The mind-body connection is a powerful one and its a two way street. I have the power to choose not only what I think but also what I feel according to my attitude. Stoicism for me is a philosophy of optimism and empowerment. To this day I still struggle with anxiety. The thought of another tomorrow filled with the pain fills me with dread. But I know that I have the power to create a more peaceful internal mental world by what I focus on. Stoicism helps me to focus on positive actions I can take in the moment and to accept the things I can not change.

One of the most powerful pieces of Stoic writing for me is Seneca’s piece “On the shortness of life”. This is a youtube audio version of it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYWEAa-D5vM

Also check out Tim Ferris’ blog. This is an article on how entrepreneurs can apply Stoic lessons in their lives but I believe it also is helpful for people who are chronically ill or dealing with chronic pain as well.

http://fourhourworkweek.com/2009/04/13/stoicism-101-a-practical-guide-for-entrepreneurs/

Stoic in Training

Brad Miller

If you’ve found Stoicism or other philosophies helpful in your own life please share your experience below.

 

Ten things to do instead of watching the debate

Human health includes both inputs and outputs. What we think, what we watch, and how we feel directly influence everything from the architecture of our brain to how well our immune system is functioning. I’ve listed ten things we all can do that will be better our health on Monday instead of watching the Presidential debate which can induce high blood pressure, depression, hopelessness, apathy, and even thoughts of self-harm. So if you want to avoid all of those possible side effects of watching the debate take a crack at doing one of these fun and healthy alternatives.

  1. Make Love to your significant other. If you think 90 minutes is being a bit overly optimistic than start with head to toe massage and then get to the good stuff. Then repeat until the 90 minutes are up.

    Sexual intercourse helps to boost your immune system and also helps to lower blood pressure. Watching the presidential debate will definitely raise viewers blood pressure.

http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/sex-and-health

2. Cook and eat a Primal Meal. I would suggest making grass fed beef tacos. Mix up your own taco seasonings, lettuce tomato and if you are cool with dairy, organic cheddar cheese and organic sour cream. If you are feeling really adventurous you can make your own cassava flour tortillas. This is the link to my recipe for the tortillas.  They are delicious.

https://healthier2day.com/2016/08/10/cassava-flour-tortillas/

Eating paleo or primally has a host of health benefits. It can help you lose weight,  lower your cholesterol and help ease the symptoms of many  chronic illnesses. The Paleo approach to eating also helps you to avoid wheat, vegetable oils, and sugar that have a host of negative effects on the human body and all of which can contribute to diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

3.  Get your garden ready for Fall planting. Now is the perfect time to revisit your      summer  garden and write down what worked and what didn’t. After that you can sit down and plan out what you are going to plant this fall. This is something the whole family can be involved with. Growing your own organic vegetables feeds your body and your soul.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/what-to-plant-now-zl0z0903zalt

4. Start learning a new language. If you learn another language it can help increase your memory and help with avoiding common cognitive traps like spelling errors or common grammar errors. Also it helps to broaden your horizon and get a different perspective which is always a good thing. This can help you see through the “tribalism” that the media and the ruling elite attempt to box us all in with and it helps you avoid falling for their plans at creating tension amongst the various “tribes”.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/10/more-languages-better-brain/381193/

5. Play a board game with your family. I personally would avoid playing risk with my family because the shouting and hurt feelings defeats the purpose. But for most people playing board games is an activity full of smiles and laughter. We’ve heard over and over again laughter is the best medicine, I don’t know about that but laughter has been shown to increase endorphins and decrease stress hormones. Another great benefit of playing board games is that you sit across from each other and you make a lot of eye contact with each person. Anyone knows that one of the best things in the world is to be the recipient of a loved one’s full attention. This is especially important for kids.

Instead of staring into a glowing box projecting images and sounds of two people you don’t know and will never know, use your attention, intelligence, energy and time to engage with those that you love while playing a game. You’ll be having more fun than anyone who is watching the debate, I guarantee it.

http://www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/top-10-health-benefits-board-games/

6. Write three letters to the three people in your life. You don’t even have to send them. The site of handwriting from someone you love has a powerful affect on a person. It is almost like seeing a picture of them writing the letter while at the same time peering inside their minds. It’s a very intimate way to communicate. That’s why it’s very unfortunate kids are not being taught cursive any longer. It is an art form and it conveys individuality that you can feel. If you’ve ever come across an old letter from a long ago love or a birthday card signed by your grandma who passed away years ago, you know what I mean.

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-23540/the-surprising-health-benefits-of-writing-love-letters-according-to-science.html

Writing letters involves both sides of the brain. There is a structure to it the writing, there is the emotional component and what content you want to cover. It can be as simple as sharing your latest vacation trip with an uncle you’ve not spoken to for a while or a heartfelt thank you to a caregiver, a teacher, or someone else who has helped you in a powerful way you’ve never thanked properly. That is a thousand times more powerful than anything that’s going to be said on the glowing box by those two people you don’t know and will never meet.

7. Take a hike. That’s really what I want to tell all politicians. I know we’d better off without them but in the mean time go outside and walk. Go for as long as you can. It’s not a race. Take someone with you. Enjoy the birds, the breeze and the cool night air. The walk is all about the experience of being in nature even if it’s just walking in your neighborhood. Walking helps improve your circulation, strengthens your bones and improves your mood. Maybe the debate should have the candidates walking and talking?

http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/workouts/walking/wow-of-walking.php

8. Go to a yoga class. This is a great time to try out yoga. I have a feeling no matter who is elected in the next fours years, their will be a lot of tumult, stress and strain in the U.S. The deep state doesn’t change when the tenets of the White House move out. Yoga is not just for unwashed hippies or girls in their twenties. It is extremely beneficial for mind and body. I actually followed a thirty day yoga youtube series “Yoga with Adrienne” last year. I’ve had a ton of abdominal surgeries and it helped to stretch out my scars and adhesions.

Yoga helps you get stronger, be more flexible and more resilient, both physically and emotionally. Watching the debates makes you feel powerless. Doing Yoga is empowering.

 

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit/

9. Read a great book or listen to one – I am knee deep into a Robert Heinlein science fiction book on Audible. The narration is awesome and it deals with deep issues like slavery versus freedom, the book is “Farnham’s Freehold”.  Start a new book on Monday instead of watching the debates. You’ll have engaged your imagination, learned something knew, and have something to share with others. And you’ll be ahead of 42% of college students who never read another novel after graduation. That’s scary and it also explains the state of the world we live in.

Reading fiction helps to heighten connectivity in the brain. That according to experts is a good thing. Plus its enjoyable. Not being able to put down a great book is one of the great pleasures in life. Start on Monday or finish the book you’ve been neglecting.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201401/reading-fiction-improves-brain-connectivity-and-function

If you are not into fiction start reading up on a hobby you wanted to start or about farming, carpentry or some other practical skill. Or better yet about philosophy. If you are interested in Libertarian or The Freedom Philosophy I recommend checking out this free book by Leonard Read: “Anything Peaceful” which is the total opposite of what the two candidates will be spewing on Monday. This book covers why peace and individual liberty go hand in hand.

https://admin.fee.org/files/doclib/anything_thats_peaceful.pdf

The key is to use the time to grow, improve and be an active participant in life and not just a passive consumer. What I love most about books is that there are no commercials in them. I can’t believe no publisher hasn’t thought about putting ads in books yet. I’m glad they haven’t. Below is a bunch of other reasons why reading is awesome.

http://www.persistenceunlimited.com/2007/12/the-26-major-advantages-to-reading-more-books-and-why-3-in-4-people-are-being-shut-out-of-success/

10. Remove toxins from your house. Not having the debates on in your home is the first step in removing harmful cognitive toxins from your residence. The debates, the media, the talking heads all spew out harmful cognitive poison. I watched  “The Human Experiment” last night. It was eye opening. It’s not about cognitive poison but its about all the horribly toxic ingredients that are in everything from household cleaners to makeup to shaving cream to soap which wreak havoc on the human body. Spend time on Monday going through your home and reading labels. Then go online and research what natural and organic products you can buy to replace the toxic sludge we are soaking ourselves in daily.

Two brands I like are:

https://www.drbronner.com (great soap)

http://www.seventhgeneration.com (paper towels and household cleaners)

These are just ten things you can do that are good for your health instead of watching the debates which is not. Your vote won’t matter. Your individual actions and choices you make on a daily basis impact your life a billion times more than any politician’s actions ever will. Spend the time with the TV off as a silent protest to the powers that be and concentrate on living a healthier and happier life today. Your health is the bedrock of your life. It is the foundation for all your relationships. Spending time getting stronger, growing closer to your loved ones, improving you brain and exercising your body is a great way to become healthier today.

Your life is Epic – act accordingly.

Brad