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It’s time to begin packing for Jimmy Moore’s low carb cruise so I wanted to launch a post on some of the books I have been reading and spot light two of them that I think are really good reads. I have shared them with my members and my patients and now I want to share my thoughts with my blog readers.

How to make your ‘I cans” always succeed your “I can’ts”

First up, is Dean Dwyer’s first book called “Make Shift Happen” I met Dean for the first time at Paleo fx and we happened to be a on a panel together and his responses to audience questions really caught me be surprise. He was one of the most amazing breathes of fresh air in Austin I met. We spoke and he told me he wrote a book and I told him I’d love to read it and he sent me a copy that came to my office during a clinic day at 9 AM and finished it at 3 PM, while I was seeing patients in my neurosurgery clinic. I could not put it down because it was so thought provoking.

This is the finest paleo book I have read, and I have bought and read them all. As a clinician, getting people to change is my toughest task. But in Dean’s book I found the easy to read recipe for true transformational change. This is the secret sauce of personal success. The book is awesome for any one interested in transformational change and this topic is sorely missing in Paleosphere and in modern life……it is a book that I can now hand to my patients when they tell me they ‘can’t’ do something…….I don’t care about their thoughts of “I can’t”…….I just care about their “I can”…….and Dean’s book opens their mind to “I can” big time. Dean has raised the bar for Paleo lifestyle and for modern thinking.

I have told many people on this blog that a single thought can change our DNA and I believe this with every sinew in my body. But Dean’s book tells the reader how to prepare the mindset to make this quantum leap in thinking. If there is one thing I can say is that most people fail at change because they suffer from impoverished thinking and never make this quantum leap to success.

I heard Allen Claxton, a minister, once utter, ” Today the treacherous, unexplored areas of the world are not in continents or the seas; they are in the minds and hearts of men.” Truer words have rarely been said. Modern life is in constant flux and is unyielding in demanding us to adapt to changes. As time proceeds on, changes are accelerating in our modern world and paralleling what is also happening in evolutionary biology. These changes are forcing us to do more with less time to adapt to these mismatches. When you factor in just how much data the modern human gets each day about health and diet, it’s little wonder that we adopt specific habits of thinking and framing data just to survive. According to IT research in 2010, the amount of digital data online doubles every 11 hours in our world now! At this pace it is impossible to keep up with the pace of change. In order to keep up with this mountain of data, the human brain is designed by evolution to create ‘desktop shortcuts’ and templates for thinking, evaluating, and getting to quick decisions. Dean even used other books to describe this brilliantly when he tapped Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” as an example of this, in his own book. Dean gives us his top 20 short cuts to improve our thinking to improve our DNA.

Dean’s use of his “20 shifts” are used to form a framework or a mindset for transformational change. A mindset is a mental inclination and a tendency to form a new habit. Being in control of your mindset and the manner in which you think makes the person better able to navigate the changes we face in modern life. When we control our own mindset with these “shift’s” we are allowing our brain to function by improving our response to modern environmental challenges so that we can win back our hearts and minds to accomplish transformation. Having the best tools, products, or diet available to us serves us no good if we do not have the individual organizational thought patterns that allows us to synchronize those tools with our thoughts to create the chance for optimal performance in our lives.

Clinicians like myself know that the worldview a person adopts will profoundly affect the outcome they are likely to get. Mankind has two mindsets, fixed and variable. People who have fixed mindsets believe their capabilities are carved into stone. this is further entrenched by our educational system in how it is applied. Many teachers still believe today that children’s IQ scores dictate the whole story of what they will become. People with this mindset interpret most of life with an either/or decision process, win/loss view, or a fail/ and succeed mindset. People with this mindset also have a passion for the status quo and they make up the majority of people in our world. They are also the ones who are most resistant to change. If a need for change surfaces in their life they look at it as a “change event”, and after it occurs they look to go back to their business as usual approach. This is why so many passionate New Years resolutions become forgotten promises by January 8th.

People with a variable growth and development mindset believe that their qualities can be cultivated and expanded through their personal efforts. They believe that anyone can grow and change via an application of life’s experiences. These people feel that their potential is infinite and can be developed with challenging learning. These are the people I seek out here in my blog. There is a reason things should not be made easy. It weeds out the thinkers who are rigid about thoughts.
Individuals who think from this worldview see the world through a win/win perspective, a both and and decisions process. Challenges are actively pursued as opportunities and risk is measured to a predefined level of tolerance.

Dean’s 20 ‘Shift’s‘ are designed to habitually force you to think in a growth variable manner without consciously forcing it down your throat. He does it in an engaging fun way and uses words than anyone can understand. My personal favorite shift is to think in ‘Beta mode’ and not be afraid of being directionally accurate in a world that demands precision. When I read it, it just spoke to me because instead of hitting WHAT and HOW in my brain……..he hit the WHY first. And getting to the why first requires variable inside out thinking……it requires the reader to engage their own ‘primal instinct or horse sense‘ that is based upon this win/win mindset.

I think this is a book everyone should own to obtain transformational change, and it has very little to do with the Paleo template……it is a book that will give you the “WHY” you need to change they way you think to get to the inner masterpiece that lies within you.


When Diet is correct, there is no need for medicine

Ashley’s book, “Sweet Potato Power“, has beautiful aesthetics and a simple message. Food is our best medicine and our most important tool in maintaining health. When our diet is wrong, no amount of modern medicine can overcome it.She makes this bold statement in a very quiet fashion through her book. We live during a time where modern life can totally destroy us by what we eat and how we apply modern conveniences to our lives. She reminds us, that we still have the ability to peer inside of our bodies and begin to retake control and power because we have more tools today to navigate us back to optimal health. Ashley gives you the tools to bridge the gap between your diseases and problems and to your doctors.

In this book she gives us a road map to 21st century healthcare delivery. It is clear to me one of her goals were to help the reader navigate the nightmare of modern health system by keeping you from it by giving you the tools to use food as your medicine. Her chapters on calories, food, hormones and low inflammation where like listening to an orchestra play flawlessly. She made it simple and easy to understand for anyone to read. Her visuals in this book were outstanding. One in particular using wood and convenience food really made an impact for me. I left the book in my waiting room for a week and asked patients what they thought of the book as I saw them in the clinic. All age groups thought Ashley did a great job explaining the complexities of the biochemistry in a simpleton fashion. Her chapter on hormones was a big hit with my older female patients. Many of them loved her description of the hormones more than my own! By far everyone’s favorite chapter was Chapter 7. This was also true for me as well. Internet forums are littered with people who are told that the “paleo diet” is all one needs to implement to get ultimate success, but yet it eludes them. This causes frustration, and they all know it is not true for many of us. Ashley actively embraces experimentation to find out what brand of paleo is best suited to the reader. She fully embraces the “quantified self” platform of testing in this book. She tells the reader that they need to monitor and learn and apply what they learn about their diet and their lab results to slowly get to optimal health. This is a very important message lacking in many paleo books today. She went into great detail for the reader of how to look for “well care physicians” to partner with.

She clearly says that if your doctor only “doctors” you in sickness they won’t be experts in how to keep you well. This message is vital to get out the herds of people who do not understand that our current system is built to work best for those who are already sick. There is little place in our current system for those who want wellness care. She introduced me and the readers to Wellness Fx and laboratory that is providing over 50 diagnostic tests to patients in a cost effective manner. Their labs cost a fraction of what it would cost if you had to use a conventional lab for testing. I spend a lot of money for testing yearly so this information alone was worth the book’s cost for sure. This really excited me, because as most of you know I am a huge believer in serial testing and frequent labs for me and my patients. It uncovers hidden issues and allows me time to reconstruct what is going on with the patient in real time. It allows me me time to fully assess dietary and lifestyle changes easily and allows me to make actionable changes to our treatment plans as we see fit with the lab data generates with the clinical data the patient reports. This also allows me to show a patient how their new behavior has directly affected their biochemistry and epigenetics for both the good and the bad to help them make better decisions.

This is a book every patient should consider owning of gifting to someone who needs help avoiding our healthcare system. I also think it has information in it that can make a patient a better consumer in the healthcare arena. It will allow them to make better decisions about the healthcare advice they are getting from their providers. I have a copy of the book in my waiting room for my patients to use and ask me questions they might have. I ask them to bring the book in to the clinic if they have any questions they are unsure of. It has seemed to be a valuable resource for them so I think that this is a great thing.

The final point I’d like to make is that the ending of the book has everything about how to prepare a sweet potato one might imagine! My personal favorite is found on page 201. Ashley includes her recipe for sweet potato linguine which is now being used as the base for many of my summer time recipes that will show up in my e-cookbook soon! The recipe is awesome!

Ashley has given us all a piece of her that can help each and every one of us to improve our former selves today. The road to optimal is no longer a mystery to us…….Ashley makes it clear it is a choice. Sweet Potato Power is a smart decision while traveling the road to optimal in my estimation.