Black Box Medicine

Is it possible to know too much?

Lately I’m thinking maybe it is. The sheer volume of information available today is overwhelming. If you’re anything like I am, you are looking for ways to cut through the hype, the fluff and the irrelevant to find nuggets of valuable content.

Although true in many areas of interest, I can’t think of an area where it is truer than healthcare. It seems like each day we get additional confusing and sometimes contradictory ideas about how to get and stay healthy.

There is so much information available it’s mind-boggling. Take a look at the following image:

Metabolic Pathways Chart

This shows the normal biochemical pathways in the body. Although this image is too small to see the details, you should know that each little piece is a separate molecule or interaction between molecules. (Note: If you want to see
all the details you can download a free, full-sized copy of this chart in PDF format by clicking here.)

And when you realize that this chart doesn’t even show pathological biochemical processes, macro structures like organs and tissues or non-physical components like emotions, you can get an idea of exactly how complex it really is to stay healthy!

A Simpler Model

To help deal with all this complexity, I’d like to propose a new, more simple way to look at your health.

I call it Black Box Medicineâ„¢.

Here’s a diagram showing how it works:

"Black Box Medicine" Diagram

There are just 3 pieces to the image – Inputs, the “Black Box” and Outputs.

Pretty simple, isn’t it?

This model of health is based on the idea that it doesn’t so much matter how everything works so long as you get the results you want.

It’s sort of like driving a car. You don’t need to know the intricate details of how your engine, transmission and electrical systems work, you just need to manage the inputs (accelerating, steering and braking) in a way that gets you the output you want (arriving safely at your destination).

By thinking this way about your health you adjust your inputs until you start getting the output you want.

An Example of this Idea in Action

To better understand this idea, let’s look at an example.

Say you’re experiencing low energy. It’s hard to get going in the morning and you drag yourself through your day. It’s interfering enough with you life that you decide you need to correct it.

To fix this using the Black Box Medicine model, you would look at all the possible inputs and decide which you want to change first. Obviously some of these things are easier to adjust than others so you would
probably want to start with inputs that are easy to work with.

In this case you’d probably start with either food or water. You could start by adjusting your exercise, but if you’re tired and not exercising enough it might be difficult to increase it.

Check to see if you’re drinking enough water. If not, increase it and see if it changes your output by increasing your energy level.

If you are drinking enough water, start adjusting your food intake. For example, you might increase your protein and reduce your refined carbohydrates. In other words, eat more meat and less grains and sugars.

After a few days notice if your energy improves or not. If so, then continue to adjust until you get where you want to go. If not, try a different food adjustment or pick another input to adjust.

Simplicity in Action

Can you see how much simpler this is than trying to figure out in elaborate detail what’s ‘wrong’ with you? Instead you just keep adjusting inputs until you get the result you want.

Of course there are ways to speed this process up. For example if you get a Metabolic Typing® assessment you can cut 1 to 2 years off your learning curve about which foods will give your optimal energy. If you go to an experienced trainer you can learn the best ways to exercise for your age and condition. If you are having relationship difficulties, you can get counseling from an experienced professional.

Above all, if you start paying attention to the results you’re getting related to your inputs, you’ll soon learn how to make amazing progress in achieving your health and wellness goals.

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