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What You Need to Know to Get on the Path Towards Optimal Living

“Are you healthy?”


“Are you doing things that you want to be doing?”


“Are you living the life that you want?”


These are the questions that get me up every morning. I am obsessed with helping people answer these questions. This is why my team and I have created High Yield Health. We want you to be among the healthiest people that you know. We want you to perform at your best. We want to help you live the life you want to live.


Personally, I have been asking myself these questions for over three decades now. In 1992, I was accepted as an undergraduate student to work for a semester at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. This campus is considered the most austere and renowned research place in the world. I knew that this was going to be an experience of a lifetime. Yet, I had no idea that my life was going to change forever. This may sound dramatic, but that is exactly what happened.


The research program gave me the opportunity to “live” in the hospital alongside other patients as they provided me room and board. I volunteered to be in research study. They were researching the effects of high dosage of vitamin E. I had a medical team assigned to me. Per protocol, they needed to verify that I was “healthy.” As part of this, they ran an exhaustive list of blood tests and I was given a detailed physical examination. In exchange, I would be able to work with any researcher accepting students.


I was excited to learn what it meant to be a patient and personally experience being a study subject. I ended up working in a cutting edge neuro-endocrinology lab seeking novel treatments for stress with an amazing researcher and mentor.


A couple of weeks later, the life that I knew had changed. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease as part of the routine review. The junior researcher stamped my chart as REJECTED as he recommended that I be sent home since I had a disease. I was no longer considered normal. For days, no one told me about my disease. There was no Internet back then. I had no access to the medical library. The head researcher was out of town. I stared at my suitcase while wondering if I should be packing my bags and where I was headed in life.


With a blink, my fortune had changed. My mentor learned of this and told me that he would keep me on his team regardless. I had an amazing doctor newly assigned to me. I am forever grateful to him. He sat with me and explained everything to me. He unveiled insights that would not be discussed in any book or lecture from any medical school, residency, or fellowship. He was way ahead of his time. I was given this gift before I formally started my training.


To quote Sir Issac Newton, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulder of giants.”


So, what did this doctor unveil to me? At first, I felt insulted by him. He told me how lucky I was. I was in disbelief at the suggestion that I was lucky. I had just learned that I had a disease. How could this be a good thing? As I was ripe with attitude, he weathered my mix of irritation and disappointment. He calmly explained that he was fascinated by what he learned by studying my medical history, exam, and tests. With honesty and kindness, he noted I was among the stressed out people that he had ever met. As I look back, I absolutely agree. It is an understatement to say that I have type A personality. Although I chalked this up being a pre-medical student, he redirected the conversion and plainly said that this stress was hurting me. Even though he did not specifically talk about nutrition, exercise, and sleep, he told me that traditional medicine would ask me to take better care of myself.


He then mentioned an ancient quote that I have not been able to find in any book.


“No sickness, short life. Small sickness, long life.”


The first part of the quote explains that we often go about our lives without knowing what we are doing to ourselves – without taking care of ourselves. The good doctor concluded that I had stressed myself into my disease. Please know that no one at the time was speaking of such things. The prevailing thought of modern medicine was not aligned with a mind-body connection. Stress was just in our head. It was not seen as the cause of so much sickness and illness. Today, mind-body approaches are being studied at the NIH for seemingly everything.


The second part of the quote is about awareness. Once we are aware of something, we can see it. Once we see it, we cannot unsee it. With awareness comes insight and intention. And with insight and intention, we are poised to take action. I believe in the saying that “we are sick as our secrets.” When the secret is exposed, we often unveil the sickness. With a small sickness, we are given a wake up call. This is what he meant when he said that I was lucky.


From my diagnosis and my experience, it was clear. I had found my professional calling. I had to become a doctor. I wanted to know what it meant to be healthy and how I could help other people be healthy. Then and now, I love to help people perform better and live the life that they want.


With the gift of seeing my health in a new way, I wanted to know what it took to be healthy before I went to medical school. I grew up in a close family that extended beyond my parents and brother. As my uncle would get different newsletters, he would give me issues after he had read them. One of them had health tips tucked away in the corner of every issue. I was hooked on these tips and kept looking for more.


Many years ago, I collected all the health newsletters that I came across for one year. I summarized all of these into a table with three columns:


  1. The food that I should eat

  2. The supplements that I should take

  3. The other things that I should be doing


What was the verdict?


IT. WAS. ABSURD.


I would need to consume well over 5,000 calories and more than 50 supplements every day. Also, I would need to quit my daytime job, and essentially not sleep to do all the things that I need to do to be “healthy.” I trust that you also find this absolutely absurd. Any and all of this is ridiculous, impossible, and not the life we would want to live. Moreover, this would be overwhelming. With so much to think about, it would be hard to pick a path. This would lead to jumping from one idea to the next and second guessing ourselves much and often. In my academic days, we would call this “paralysis by overanalysis.” Simply put, this was not the path to being healthy.


With over 25 years of schooling, I have spent much of life learning. Early on, I loved to learn – and I still do today. But over time, it was clear to me. Enough was enough. It was time for results. This is why I am here with High Yield Health. For the team and I, we are here to boil the ocean. It is time to go from ideas to action. We have been trained and have worked at the top places in our fields. We will connect the best of science and clinical experience to lay out a path.


A path to the life you want to live.


Our approach is based on understanding the key principles to health and healing. Allow us to explain.


Principles Before Methods


One of my favorite writers is Ralph Waldo Emerson. Allow me to paraphrase one of my favorite writings of his:


“Methods are many. Principles are very few.

The man or woman chasing methods may or may not find what he or she is looking for.

But the person with principles is more likely to find the helpful method.”


What does this mean?


We can chase and try all the health trends that we have nowadays. In the past 25 years that I have been scanning the New York Times bestsellers list, I found something very interesting. There has always been a weight loss book on this list – and it keeps changing. This is irritating if you are trying to keep up with every new fashionable idea. But from a big picture perspective, it is very revealing. These books highlight a principle but they then hedge their bets and push a method forward that they erroneously believe will serve the masses.


There is no one diet for the masses. There is no one workout that fits into all of our lives. There is no one thing that makes all of us happy.


However, there are principles that we can follow to help us be healthy and live the life we want. With the principles, we can pick the methods that connect our goals with the life we want to live. whereas methods may change or may need to change over time, these principles are consistent over time.


We believe in getting results. We want the signal within all the noise that we hear. Our mantra will be “a few things done well.” We do not need to do all the healthy things we read about. This is neither necessary nor helpful.


High Yield Health starts with principles.


Together, we will review health principles each week. From here, you will find methods that are helpful and are not helpful. It is often a collection and combination of methods. Please know that it will evolve over time. As the famous Greek philosopher shared, “No man steps in the same river twice. For he is not the same man. It is not the same river.” Said another way, we change and the world around us changes. With this, our lifestyles will need to evolve over time. We will guide you on this.


The Principles


At High Yield Health, we are focused on 5 key principles for health and healing:


  1. Modern Medicine

  2. Nutrition

  3. Exercise

  4. Sleep

  5. Joy


We’ll discuss more of these in the next article and in separate articles that tackle each one of these principles in the future.



HIGH YIELD HEALTH


High Yield Health believes in the best of health and helping people live the life they want. This is why we exist. As there is no shortage of ideas and suggestions, we will move from ideas to action. We believe in results. We believe in finding the principle before the method. We believe in a


few things done well.


At High Yield Health, we also believe in connecting modern medicine, nutrition, exercise, sleep, and joy. We know that one size does not fit all. We will guide you on how to personalize and individualize. We will distill the information so that it is clear and actionable.


We created High Yield Health because we did not know where to send our patient and clients when they asked us to recommend what to read. In the next article, we prepared a survey for you to share your thoughts on which of the five principles mentioned above you would want to read mostly about.


Cheers,

Dr. Param


Param Dedhia, MD



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