Mind Body and Soul

The Connection between Diabetes and Alzheimer's

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Alzheimer’s disease has recently been in the news because of the lack of progress on new treatments. Many of the big pharmaceutical companies are abandoning their current research on finding new treatments for this incurable problem. The research has been trying to find a way to decrease the plaque that can build up in the brain. There’s a strong correlation to this amyloid plaque and worsening symptoms.

They have spent billions of dollars and hopeful studies to reduce plaque and improve outcomes. We still have no new medications and no really good treatments for this debilitating disease that reaches into most of our families.

There are a few medications on the market that can help slightly. They have been out for years and offer a little improvement with memory and other problems associated with dementia.

It seems like every day science is advancing and I am confident that one day we will have better options than we have now. For years now, we have known of the connection to diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Some doctors have referred to it as Type III dementia.

There is more and more research showing this connection to diabetes and insulin resistance. Recently, there have been studies suggesting that common medications we use to treat insulin-resistant diabetes may in fact help with dementia.

So I am hopeful that eventually our smart scientists and doctors will come up with better solutions. But for now, what should you do if you are concerned about Alzheimer’s?

I believe the current evidence strongly supports healthy eating and exercise! I have seen numerous patients who change their diets and start an easy exercise program and have slowed down the damage of this disease. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made and will respond when we treat them well.

If you’re having bad results with your health, and you don’t eat well or exercise, why not try for a few days to eat clean and exercise a little? What do you have to lose but a couple of pounds?

Try my 10-Day Diet Challenge and see if you feel better in just 10 days. Most people report positive results. The average male will drop 6–8 pounds and the average lady will lose 4–6 pounds.

If you have diabetes or have a family history of diabetes, download my free manual and how to beat diabetes. I believe this information can also help slow down the development of Alzheimer’s in patients who are at risk.

 

I am amazed at how most people’s bodies will respond to healthy nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Most of people will spend more on taking care of their cars than they will spend on taking care of their bodies!

Take care of yourself. Splurge a little and pay for a gym membership or see your doctor for a check-up. Spend a little more money on buying good food. Invest some time in exercise. Read a good book. Your body will thank you for the investment!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown


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Dr. Curtis Brown is a family care physician in Yukon, Oklahoma, specializing in nutrition and weight loss management. He is the author of The Caleb Journey.

Is Money a Risk Factor for Poor Health?  

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If you read about your health on the internet, you will find all sorts of information that may or may not be helpful or correct. I often will find lists of things to do, to eat, or to avoid. It can be hard to sort through the information and make practical applications to your own situation.

I usually like those articles that list bullet points because I can scan them for relevance and then move on or dig deeper if desired. Today, I just have one bullet item. It is really more of a question or actually an observation.

1.     Is money, or the lack of money, a risk factor for poor health?

I have traveled to third-world countries where the average citizen lives in poverty and for the most part, the people are healthy. I have also seen affluent citizens in our country who are in poor health.  Obviously, the opposite situations can be observed as well. I have seen kids go to bed hungry and malnourished. I have seen others who can spend time and energy on good food, gym memberships, and advanced medical treatments and develop horrible health problems.

I think I am asking a deeper question. Money certainly gives options and can provide expensive medical care, doctors’ visits, immunizations, and medications—all of which should lead to better health.

Is there a connection, at least in our culture, to money and health? Is it possible that the way we handle our resources can predict our health to some degree? I’m not suggesting that if you are unhealthy it’s because you’re not a good steward of your money or vise versa.

I have the privilege of taking care of many Medicare patients. Many of them do very well from a health prospective and from a financial prospective. Unfortunately, I have several elderly patients who are living only on social security. Some of them are surviving (somehow) on only around $800 a month.

They are very limited to their abilities to purchase healthcare and supplies, such as medications and healthy foods. Most of them that come to my mind were hard-working, good people. They were and are productive citizens and bring great value to our culture. But they have limited resources.

There is a growing wave of Baby Boomers who will be retiring over the next 10–20 years. Many are poorly prepared for retirement. Many will need to continue in the labor force out of necessity, not desire.

My whole intent on this article is to simply sound a warning bell to those far from retirement (or to those who are close to retirement). You will probably need more money than you think to live comfortably. I want you to have an amazing life.

I am not a retirement specialist. So please talk to someone who is. I know many people who are totally prepared and will have an amazing life in retirement. But I also see currently many who are not prepared.

My encouragement to you is to get prepared! Give some thought to your retirement. Seek good council.

One of the major disciplines that will help you financially is also good discipline for your health: delayed gratification. Spend less than you make. This is the primary key to having financial resources later. Eat fewer calories than you burn. This is the primary way to lose weight. Delay gratification.

Know where your money is going. (Have a budget.) Know how many calories you eat a day. Check your bank account every now and then. Get a physical every now and then. There are so many similarities to the habits that create good financial health to good physical health.

Most of us have good intentions. We intend to do all sorts of things that are good for our families and good for us. The problem is we are usually going to start tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Develop a plan, put some thought to your future, and start today!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

Not Everything Is Possible

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I had just finished a workout at Gold’s Gym and was in the locker room. They have TVs playing music videos all the time. I know they are trying to reach a much younger demographic than a guy like me, but I still don’t care for the music. (Truth be told, there isn’t much music I like.)

The lead singer (if you call that singing!) was a young skinny kid no older than seventeen. I only caught part of the lyrics, the part that is sung over and over and over. “Anything is possible/You can become anything you want.”

I know that sounds good and I am probably guilty of telling my kids those exact words, but the problem is that it’s simply not true. I will never play for the Thunder or fly to the moon. I think that would be really cool if I could, but it is simply not possible. I may want it with all of my heart and feel like it is the right thing, but it’s not happening.

This world is a wonderful place full of opportunities and options, and being born in America is a real blessing. We can try to do just about anything we want (as long as it is legal!) and our work may or may not be rewarded. While the world is wonderful, it is also wild and ruthless. Cold hard facts often shatter dreams and ambitions.

This idea of being whatever you want to be has gotten a little crazy in my opinion. Gender dysphoria and transgender issues have become a normal part of our culture. Yet, I don’t care how much you want to change your gender, you are not going to change what you are at the very basic level of your DNA. I am sorry, but if you have two X chromosomes and want a Y chromosome, you are going to have to wait for a very long time. Gene splicing is a long way from being able to do that!

This is one of those times that the world, in its wisdom, says you can become whatever you feel or desire. Our feelings can often lead us to places we really do not want to be. We may “feel” a certain way, but reality is something completely different. If we are constantly making our decisions based on feelings and we ignore reality, dreams can be shattered.

You may be able to have cosmetic surgery and change your outward appearance to try to line up with your inner feelings; but in the end, it is all cosmetic. You are not changing the real you, the way you were created.

I admit I really do not understand someone who is struggling with gender issues. I do think at its core, though, it is a common struggle. I believe inwardly we all know we do not measure up, that we are not as good as we want to be. I honestly cannot even measure up to my own standards, much less the standards that God has given us in the scriptures.

I think everyone struggles with this idea of not being good enough, at least on some level.  I believe this struggle points us to the idea of needing help. Maybe gender dysphoria is a way of looking for that help?

I believe that help is found in Christ. Without His help, I am never going to measure up to His or even my standards!

I am so grateful I do not have to depend on my abilities, my goodness. If I had to depend on my work or goodness, I could never rest. I would always be searching. The good news is we can enter into His rest and we can depend upon His work and in Him, we are good enough!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown


Are You a Goal Setter?

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Wow! It is amazing how fast the years go by and here we are already at the end of another year. This was a really big year for my family. Two of my “kids” got married and a third one finished up his college education.

I am excited about next year and the opportunities it will bring. It is this time of the year I start to think about my goals for next year. I am sort of a nerd about this. I like to set goals in multiple areas of my life. I do not think I have ever hit 100% of them, but sometimes I get pretty close. I nailed about 75% this year and I actually feel really pretty good about it.

I break my goals down into four separate areas. There is often some overlap between the different areas, but usually a goal seems to fit better in one than the other. My four areas are spiritual, relational, work/finance, and personal/health.

I try to have 3–5 goals for each area and I write them down. Studies have shown simply writing down your goals improves your success tremendously.

I do think the secret to meeting the goals is to review them—often! I try to look at my goals once a week and strategize what my next steps are for the coming week. It usually only takes 5–10 minutes. I have found Fridays work best for me. I am not sure why, but it works for me.

Once a month, I try to take an afternoon off and really look at my goals and my progress. I also use the time to get some thinking done. As crazy as it may sound, I usually go to one of the public libraries and find a corner.  Oklahoma City has an amazing new library on the NW side. I stop at Starbucks for a cup of coffee, and then I am ready to go!

About midyear, I often adjust some of my goals. Life has a way of changing and I try to be realistic and flexible. Some goals are not always possible when life throws you a curve. One year, I had an injury and couldn’t get my miles in. I had to make some adjustments to my goals and my expectations. I do try to be realistic but not to let that be an excuse for not reaching a goal. I try to make my goals hard but not impossible.

Another thing I like to do is to come up with one or two BHAGs. BHAGs are Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goals that really move me out of my comfort zone. I try to come up with one BHAG for each of my four areas. One of the four becomes my primary goal of the year. It is usually the hardest, the one that stretches me the most. The crazy thing is, I almost always get my BHAG.

The New Year is coming. It is going to be filled with opportunities and challenges. I believe we can do some amazing things and even more so when we actually plan for an amazing life!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown


Giving: It Goes Both Ways

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I love this time of year. I love the cooler weather. (I can do without the ice!) I love getting to use my fireplace. I love the memories I have of being with my family around my fireplace during the Christmas season. I love the smells that come from our kitchen! There is so much to love about this time of year.

I think one of the things I love the most is giving gifts. I must confess my wife does most all of the work shopping for the gifts, but I enjoy watching others receive gifts. I really enjoy giving gifts anonymously. We have all heard it is better to give than to receive. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoying receiving too. But there is something else that happens when we give.

The root word in Hebrew for the word give is a palindrome. It’s spelled the same both ways: NaTaN. So, no matter which side of the give/receive equation you are on, the blessings just flow through. It goes both ways!

One of the spiritual truths about giving is that when we give something to someone or something, we are imparting some of our value to that person or thing. The more we give of our time or resources or even our love, the more value we are placing on that person or thing. The more we give, the more we value or love the object of our gift.

I think this is one of the main reasons God wants us to give of our “first fruits” not because He needs the gifts, but because we desperately need God to be in the center of our lives. By giving to Him, it helps us keep Him in the center of our hearts.

Here is a quick brain hack on dealing with people in your life you might find annoying. Yes, we all have them and if you don’t, you probably are that someone! But if you have someone in your life that is slightly tough to tolerate, try giving them small gifts. When they start to annoy you, just say a little prayer for them and ask God to bless them. With time, you will find your heart changing toward them. I dare you to try it for a couple of months and see what happens!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas as we celebrate the greatest Gift of all!

Dr. Curtis Brown


Dealing with Loneliness during the Holidays

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The longest night of the year is coming up soon! Dec 21st is the December solstice for us who live in the northern hemisphere.

While this coming 21st is definitely a long night, many people have long nights every night of the year. And the long nights frequently turn into long days, months, and even years. There are many people who suffer alone through long days and nights.

Loneliness seems to be increasing at a rapid rate. Maybe I am simply more aware of it and notice it more. Maybe it is all of the so-called devices that are stealing time away from people. You would think with all of the ways to connect with each other, we would be less lonely.

I do think loneliness is tough on just about anybody. If you think about Jesus who existed for eternity with God the Father and with the Holy Spirit, he suffered tremendously from loneliness when he was on the cross. It was the first time he was ever separated from God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Not only was he experiencing wrath for all of humanity’s sins, he was experiencing extreme loneliness—perhaps for the first and only time.

If you are experiencing loneliness, you are not ALONE! There are many others feeling the exact same way. It is often worse around the holidays. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone. Ask them to meet you for coffee or breakfast. Join a gym or a civic club. Do something to put yourself into contact with others—physical contact not electronic!

Psalm 68:6 states, “God sets the lonely in families.” I am not sure how this worked in the Old Testament times, but today I think he places us in our church families as well as our biological families.

If you are struggling with loneliness, I would encourage you to get more involved with your church. I may not know where you go to church, but I can promise you they need more help in the children’s area! Getting more involved and being around people is very therapeutic. I believe you will get more back than you give.

We were created to be in a community. We need others around us to thrive. If you have a family member or friend you might think is lonely, drop in on them this week and say howdy!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

What Is the Best Diet Ever? 

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I am frequently asked this question: “What is the best diet?” After all, there are some many diet plans available and all of them claim to be the best or have some scientific explanation as to why they are better than the other diets. Stop and think how many different diet plans you have heard of, or better yet, you have tried. I bet you can think of at least a half dozen or so.

Honestly, I do not even like the word diet. It’s a four-letter word! The word itself has painful or limiting connotations associated with it. I prefer to think of it more of a lifestyle of eating, something that I stick with long-term. Not a short-term fix.

So which diet or lifestyle is best? My answer is . . . wait for it, wait for it . . . it depends!

What do I mean by it depends?

The reason most people want to talk about a diet is they want a plan to lose weight. At the very core of weight loss is a simple formula:

Weight loss = Calories in – Calories out.

If you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. If you are not able to lose weight, you are consuming more calories than you are burning up.

Weight loss is obviously more difficult than this simple formula, but the formula is never the less true. (Our bodies are extremely complicated, and there are many hormones that influence our appetites and metabolism.) I have patients tell me all the time that they “feel” like they do not overeat. Something else must be wrong, like their thyroid or their metabolism. Yet, the underlying truth is they eat more than they burn off. It is a hard but simple truth.

If you are struggling with losing weight, you either must eat less (maybe different) or burn up more calories. I believe weight loss is about 80% what we eat and about 20% what we do. It is easier to lose weight by controlling the input than by increasing the output.

Now, the secret answer to which diet is the best is simply the diet that works for you! We all have different histories, different preferences, different sleep cycles, different exercise preferences, and different metabolic rates. So in the end, the best “diet” for you is the one that works.

So when you are reading an article that claims the latest diet to be the “best diet ever,” it is probably true for the person penning the article. But it may not be the best diet for you.

I personally try to limit high glycemic carbs from my lifestyle. (I prefer not to call it a diet!) I will try to live my Ten-Day Diet Challenge throughout the week and splurge some on the weekends. About every 6–8 weeks, I will do the Ten-Day Diet Challenge for 7–10 days. This seems to work for me.

I know a lot of people love the Paleo Diet. They tend to love meat. It works for them. Others go vegan and seem to do well. You have to find what works for you. I would encourage you to think of it more of a lifestyle than a temporary diet.

So the best diet for you is the one that works and one you can live with long-term. No matter what “plan” you go with, you will need to burn up more calories than you consume if your desire is to lose weight.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

The Midsummer Five-Day Diet Challenge

It’s midsummer and the Fourth of July is behind us! If you’re like me, you’ve let your diet slip a little. It’s so easy to cheat, especially around the Fourth. I’ve found challenges like this one (even if it’s relatively short) help me reset my mindset and appetite and improve my success with eating clean.

My goal with this five-day challenge is to lose about 2.5 pounds. Perhaps more importantly, I want to improve my healthy eating moving forward for the rest of the summer. I firmly believe we become what we eat and if we are not eating a healthy diet, we will not like the ultimate results.

This is a simple challenge I am starting on July 17 and ending the evening of July 21. It’s a Monday through Friday challenge. For five days, I am going to avoid any bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, sugar, and milk. Wednesday, I am going to do at least a 12-hour fast from any calories. (I will drink water and maybe tea or coffee.) I might do a 24-hour fast, but this will be a game day decision.

I am going to try to eat around 1,750 calories a day except on Wednesday when I will be fasting. If you do this challenge with me, I would suggest you pick your ideal body weight (whatever it is you want to weigh) and then add a zero to it. This number will be the number of calories to eat daily. I want to weigh around 175 pounds so I’m going to limit my total calories for the day to 1,750.

It is my hope many of you will join me on this short challenge and post comments and/or questions of my Facebook! It is always more fun and seems easier when doing these challenges with friends and family. I do have some good recipes for smoothies and meals on the blog.

Let me know if you are in!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

Fathers: What Does It Mean to Be a Real Man?

I am writing this blog the day before Father’s Day and I have naturally been thinking about fathers. I believe one of the major reasons we live in such a great country is because of some great fathers we have had. Fathers tend to set the tone for our families and our culture. This is not to diminish anything from our mothers. There is a reason there are far more cards sold on Mother’s Day than on Father’s Day!

But if we fathers are to take credit for the successes in our culture, we must also take responsibility for our problems. I believe many of our societal problems can be laid at the feet of absent fathers.

Fathering children is a full-time job that some days can simply just wear you out. One of the predominant memories I have of raising our kids (especially when they were young) is fatigue. I was constantly physically and emotionally fatigued! I understand why many men have trouble fathering. I am not excusing them, but I get it. It is hard. But I also know the rewards of sacrificially loving and providing for your family greatly outweigh any cost!

One of the most influential books I have read on fathering is by Robert Lewis, Raising a Modern-Day Knight. If you are a father of young children, I strongly encourage you to read this book. It is filled with practical wisdom for raising your children, especially your young boys. (He is also the author of a program, “The Quest for Authentic Manhood,” another strong recommendation!)

Raising your family is your primary calling in this stage of your life. If you fail at this, you will have many regrets and major disappointments. Live with no regrets.

Unfortunately, I see many men who are putting their career and even hobbies (hunting, fishing, golf, etc.) ahead of their families. They are rejecting one of the major callings in their lives or putting it down the list of their priorities. Trust me, you will have time for a career and all of your favorite hobbies when your kids are grown. Your time with them is ever so short.

Real men do not reject responsibility. Real men will take the responsibility of providing love and protection for their families. Real men will lead their families courageously. Real men will reject being passive. Real men look to God for direction and reward. Men, let’s get real!

I strongly want to encourage young fathers in our culture to stay strong. You are shaping our futures with the work and love you put into fathering and caring for your family. You will never regret sacrificing any career or financial goals for your family. Your family should be first on your list.

Stop and think about your father. What kind of relationship did you have with your dad? Most people of faith will view their heavenly Father in the same way they view their earthly Father. If you had a cold and distant dad, there will be a strong tendency for you to view our heavenly Father the same way. The opposite is also true.

I was very fortunate to have a dad who worked lots of hours but somehow managed to be there for the important times in my life. He was faithful. I could count on him. I knew he would be there for me.

Today, from a spiritual perspective, I find having faith in my heavenly Father to come easy. I have no doubts about God being there for me and even for my family. I am convinced that faith comes relatively easy for me because my dad was faithful to me and our family.

So, dads, how are you doing with this most important job in the world? Be strong and courageous! Live with no regrets, lead courageously, reject passivity, accept responsibility, and look to God for direction.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

Attitude of Gratitude

 Last week, I had tried to get you to try a simple experiment. It was to simply stand in front of a mirror and get you to smile for three minutes a day. I know it sounds silly and I am not promising to cure you of all ailments, but if you did the challenge, I bet you felt a little better.

Motion leads to emotion. If you act a certain way, you will eventually feel that way. Something as simple as smiling can change your current mental state. I dare you to try it!

Another key to feeling less stressed (code word for fear) is to change your focus. Focus will lead to feelings. We become a summation of our thoughts. If you have a bunch of depressed or stressed thoughts, you will feel depressed or stressed. Every thought has some emotion tagged to it. If you change your focus, which is simply controlling your thoughts, you can change your emotional state.

Do a quick inventory of your emotional state for the week. Write down every emotion you had this week. Try not to edit it—just write them down as they come to mind. Hopefully, you have had a good week, but go ahead and do this little exercise. Try to determine what your primary emotion for the week has been. Honestly, I think mine has been frustration.

Now, the primary reason we feel frustrated or stressed is because our current situation doesn’t match up with our expectations or our blueprint for life. If we are feeling good, chances are our current situation matches up with our blueprint for life.

If things are not matching up with our blueprint for life, we can either change our blueprint (our expectations) or change our situation. Often, our situation can change simply by changing our focus. If we remained focused on the negative outcome or negative possibilities, chances are that our emotions well be negative. If, however, we focus on the positive things or possibilities (the glass is half full), we will tend to have positive emotions.

We all have a tendency to take a negative thought and go to the darkest corners in our minds with them. This is why solitary confinement is the worst punishment for prisoners. They are left alone with their thoughts.

You have to learn to control your thoughts. Most of the things people tend to worry over are outside of their control. They really have no influence over the outcomes. Take captive every thought you have and dwell on the good, the pure, the noble.

If you are having repetitive thoughts in your life that you really cannot control the outcome of, discipline your mind not to think about it. I have no control over the changes coming in healthcare. I can worry about it all, but it will not change the outcome. Now, I need to be aware of changes, but it will not help me to worry about Obamacare or Trumpcare. I have no control. So, when I am tempted to worry about it, I try to take control of my thoughts and focus on something else.

Focus will lead to feelings. Control what you focus on! If you want to take a deeper dive into this subject and other ideas for healthy living, take a look at my e-book, The Caleb Journey.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown