Creating a Positive Ripple from a COVID-19 Response

If we look at most of our actions, doesn’t seem like we spend a lot of time fixing what we broke? Accidents happen, however we should learn from them and do better next time. Issues like the environment, however, is something we know about. Instead of finding ways to make it better, we stop at fixing what we broke in the hopes it get back to how it was. As noted in, “Best Practices are Contraindicated for Improvement”, Dr. W. Edwards Deming explains that fixing what we broke is like putting out fires.

This approach of fixing things to make it like it was is also unrealistic because it assumes things are static, they are not. Our world is dynamic and when anything changes, everything changes because as John Muir observed, everything is interconnected:

Understanding our interconnectedness means that when we throw a rock in a body of water and it creates waves and ripples that spread and impact all that surrounds it. COVID-19 has demonstrated, in stark terms, how we are all connected and interdependent. Our interdependence and the interconnectedness of everyone and everything provides a solution that can provide not just a powerful ripple, but a powerful tsunami of future pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions from which everyone and everything can benefit in a way that would exceed expectations.

To exceed expectations, the solution to the COVID crisis should build a better future that as a by-product also treats COVID-19 and prevents future similar events. If the event is not prevented, actions taken should leave us more prepared for anything similar. The actions we take are more than just the interaction, it is all the related ripple effects.

      Sometimes the power of the secondary benefit can change the world.                                                                  –        Colin Vaughan

In other words, we need to aim to  create more good, not just less bad or what I call +3.

Creating more good, not just less bad also means we can be what Rory Vaden calls a time multiplier. This means we do things that create more time. Rory Vaden explains this in his powerful TED Talk “How to Multiply Your Time”(for more see Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…).

Creating a Greener Future for a better tomorrow that also ends COVID means we are time multipliers. Taking this type of actions means we complete tasks in ways that gives us more time in the future because our time what be spent fixing things that we break.

Rhiana Gunn-Wright’s, Director of climate policy at the Roosevelt Institute, (@rgunns) April 15, 2020 New York Times Opinion piece,”Think This Pandemic Is Bad? We Have Another Crisis Coming: addressing climate change is a big-enough idea to revive the economy” explains how we can be time a time multiplier by addressing COVID-19  and Climate Change together. She explains…

Addressing climate change doesn’t have to slow down the economic recovery…it can push it forward. No one knows the depth of the recession, (and)….rebounding from an economic disruption this large requires an equally large spike in demand and production.

Understanding this, she sugggests…

Now is the time to create policies that provide immediate relief to communities, such as federal assistance to transition homes and businesses to renewable energy; give “green” fiscal aid to states; and fuel economic recovery with the creation of federally funded green jobs.

We are already spending the money – lets use it wisely by creating a better, more sustainable world. It would be idiotic to put things back the way they were. Focusing on Climate Change and COVID-19 lets us use the funds in ways that helps us now with jobs and meaning as we builds a better future for all. This can happen by making the solution a…

…climate-focused economic recovery 

As most will agree, we don’t want to just survive to struggle, we want to thrive! The Green New Deal, provides a framework for actions that can provide useful and productive jobs that also help all of earth’s inhabitants live and do better.

Of course, for us to thrive we need to get past this pandemic. However to not just jump from the frying pan to the fryer, we must build for a better tomorrow. A thoughtful COVID response will begin to restore and revitalize our natural world while we overcome this pandemic. A climate focused recovery’s beneficial by-product should also leave us more protected against future problems.

Be strong, be smart and be safe as you work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone you can safely interact so everyone and everything benefits.

Thank you for reading, please comment below and contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Logic of Ending Pandemic Response Team

Breaking News:

Did Trump Administration Fire the US Pandemic Response Team?

I ran the White House pandemic office. Trump closed it.

According to FactCheck.org® regarding plans to defund public health agencies prior to the coronavirus outbreak, they stipulate (see Fact Check.Org for more detail):

Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts: It’s true that the president’s proposed budgets have included funding cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — but Congress hasn’t enacted those cuts.

In other words, it is not clear what exactly happened.

This is not a democratic or republican issue. Logically, why should we fund an agency and people only to respond to an emergency? From an efficiency standpoint, it would be a waste money. After all, since capable people are working, we could just mount a defense if something happens. Calling on them only when needed keeps them working on other matters until necessary. That is logical.

This the paradigm or current way of thinking for our “acute”, fix it when its broken, health care system. This thinking also dominates much of our lives. Regular Harvard Business Review contributor and author Umair Haque makes this clear in his multiple publications. By default, the fix it when it is broken or pathogenesis, problem origin thinking, has captured our thought and action process. This seems to be how things are done and how the system is designed.

Multiple promising alternatives seem to provide a better way. Umair Haque outlines a better way with better processes and outcomes in his many publications such as, Betterness: Economics for Humans, The Betterness Manifesto – Harvard Business Review, The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business and on Harvard Business Review: The Awesomeness Manifesto.

Based on these works, my work and that of many others, evidence suggests a better way exists. On December 7, 2014 I also suggested a better way when I commented that team to respond to emergencies seemed inefficient in my post, Evolve Maintenance to Improvement to Create +3’s. In this post I noted,

Maintenance means to maintain what we have. Of course that is good and better than making things worse and may be needed when something doesn’t work. From another perspective, it may be valuable to not see this as a problem but as an opportunity. These situations are an opportunity to create better if the focus is on true improvement and the aim is to create a +3 so everyone and everything benefits. Recall +3 relates to Exceeding Expectations.

A way to put this idea into practice is to evolve maintenance programs, groups or people to Continuous Improvers. As I have often discussed, the paneugenesis concept and model’s basic aim is to produce gains and make things better than they could be otherwise.

To put this into practice, I have my students do projects aim is a thriving, better than possible now outcome. I explain, the outcome should mean things are better than they could be even if nothing unforeseen happens. This challenges them because topical issues in their chapters include Disaster Preparedness, Violence Prevention, Smoking Cessation, Physical Activity, Sexual Health, Eating Well, Substance Safety, Injury Prevention, Oral Health and Organizational Wellness. Some topics that are health promoting such as physical activity, eating well and sexual health seem direct, but others related to injury, violence, or cessation are not.

All however pose a challenge because just because we are physically active or eat well – they must develop a process and desired outcome that would document a thriving organization. In our rich society, positive outcomes are expectations. Everybody knows health promoting actions should be done. They therefore have to design a project such that everyone and everything benefits and the by-product is the topic they are assigned.

Great results included bringing construction management, interior design, and public health students along with many others to develop unused spaces in dorms that were on the basement level. Creating a basement area through student driven projects would provide great learning experiences for the students as it developed a network or professionals on campus. This process would create a study area for students not available previously that they could use on a daily basis. Then, as a by-product, these basements provided a place to go if a disaster happens. The process also created networked group of professionals ready and able to respond to a disaster, as a by-product. If in the future a disaster did not occur, these actions have still made it better for all.

Another project proposed transforming unused space on campus into an eSports arena. Computer programmers, interior designers, construction management, marketing students, and business students all could be involved to develop skills while creating a state of the art eSports program. This eSports program however would utilize active programs to increase physical activity as it also made social interaction more likely thus generating physical activity and social interaction as a by-product as it created and built a better campus.

For other topical areas, a caring community’s by-product would be violence prevention, a more walkable campus would increase interaction and physical activity whose by-product would be injury prevention. The ideas are endless, the difference is that the starting point is the idealized outcome of a better community than is possible now, not the problem hoping to be avoided. Thinking of the problem to eliminate may not make things better unless it is the aim.

Other examples created a desirable community through the development of skills necessary to enable a better life with a by-product of less problems and the by-product capability to handle problems that do occur. As noted by Steven Pinker, reason overcomes violence.

The processes that result in “Betterness” and “Awesomeness” as described by Umair Haque is what I call Paneugenesis because it generates comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. In other words, ending the Pandemic Response team makes sense if we use the prevailing style of management. Unfortunately that method focuses on what to after it breaks so it is not as effective as focusing on how to make things better than before by using the Paneugenesis Process whose by-product also leaves us more prepared.

The Netherlands used this approach in the 1950’s after a flooding. Please see the 60 Minutes story and others of how they created a better community that as a by-product, also prevented flooding.

 

Please share your thoughts below about how you will create improvement, not just maintenance. Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Thank you for reading, please comment below and contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Terrorism Cannot be Prevented Or Eliminated

As we have learned, we cannot kill all the terrorists. Of course when we do, as with Al-Qaeda, a new version of it, as happened with ISIS, evolves. In other words,

Terrorism Cannot be Prevented Or Eliminated

Killings, sanctions, and or isolationism cannot get rid of terrorism any more than angioplasty or stents can get rid of heart disease.  These approaches are as illogical as saying not having an aspirin caused your headache or not having a doctor made you sick. Right now all we are doing is reacting bad situations with techniques to treat the symptoms. For a short time, some times, they end the symptom but then, eventually, usually in short order, the symptoms and more reappear.

The original issue, terrorism, heart disease, or anything we try to prevent, eliminate and or treat, will reappear because the Precursor’s or causes of the issue are still present. The conditions that led to that outcome are still present so it has to reappear. Unless a new reality is created, old symptoms have to reappear.

As we have learned, education and women’s empowerment are the best ways to move society forward, and as a by-product, also effectively end terrorism. This works because education and empowerment creates a new, “Idealized” reality where more is possible than what existed previously. The same is true for health. When people discover a plant strong, usually near vegan eating style, develop stronger relationships with people and the environment, and become physically active, they create a better life. In addition, the secondary by product, as demonstrated by Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn’s study’s have shown, the also reverse heart disease.

This is a backward way of saying working to create something better, a new reality using the Paneungenesis Process is also a more effective way to prevent problems than efforts aimed at only eliminating undesired outcomes. In other words, a focus on Creating More Good, Not Just Less Bad isa  more effective way to have less bad. Which also, most importantly, if done correctly, benefits everyone and everything.

As a reminder,

Practice Paneugenesis using this 4 Step to Process

  1. Operationalize Desired Idealized Outcome
    • Determine an Idealized outcome that is better or improved from what is possible or able to happen now
    • Must incorporate Systems Thinking so the outcome benefits are on multiple levels without any seen harm to other levels
  2. Discover and Develop Necessary Precursors to make Desired Outcome Possible
    • Research to discover what must come before idealized outcome, what must be true for desired outcome to occur
    • Assess current process to discover and learn current processes used or must be created to manifest ideal outcomes
  3. Optimize the Process to Develop Skills and abilities that make Precursors possible(this is Green Grass philosophy, its designing a process to help grass grow)
    • Develop good practices (append existing or start new processes)
    • Forget about what you should avoid
      • ONLY Focus on doing what makes desired things happen
    • Nurture, encourage, engage in and reinforce helpful actions
    • Update unneeded, outdated or inappropriate actions to ones that created idealized vision
  4. Plot Progress to document, demonstrate, and celebrate Improvement
    • Measure and document process progress moving forward toward idealized outcome
      • Note specific ongoing processes completed that cause movement forward
    • Plan and develop next steps to enable continual improvement

We cannot prevent or eliminate terrorism, though we can lessen some fo the things that we don’t want. However, if we want a better tomorrow, it can only happen by moving toward a new reality and this is something new that must be created.

Creating something new and better will necessarily push out what we do not want – it has to or the new reality will not exist (see Green Grass Theory)

I have noted this before in Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant! and to move forward we must Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad. I look forward to hearing how you create a better tomorrow, please share your successes.

As you know, I will work for progress by generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or by practicing paneugenesis.  I look forward to hearing about the progress you help generate.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

If you want to contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Living, Thriving, & Healing…Can it be simple?

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. – Confucius

My career has been focused on working to do what can cause desired outcomes.  Is that the same thing as healing? As an athlete I worked hard to improve my performance.  As a student I studied hard to learn the material and to become educated.  As a professor and research I investigate to discover if doing good, causes good.  As it turns out, it does.  This may seem obvious and straightforward, however many times we do the opposite.  In business we seek to cut costs to improve service – how is that possible?  Quality management demonstrated if we focus on improving quality, a positive chain reaction results from which everyone and everything can benefit.

As noted in August 21, 2019 Post, Top CEO’s Refocus on More than Profits…Hurray!, many are realizing we must seek to profit the system, not just an organization. This was what Deming consistently emphasized and is why those using his quality management methods have been successful. One of Deming’s messages in Profound Knowledge is: Appreciation for a System . This emphasizes that we are an interactive system, rather than a set of discrete and independent departments or processes governed by independent circumstances. When all the connections and interactions are working together, tremendous benefits for everyone and everything can be achieved.

Elisabeth Rosenthal’s book, “American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back” everyone should read. It outlines the opposite of working as a system. Here is a NYT review. It provides an example of how we have made things complicated. What has happened in healthcare has also been cited as what also caused the recent financial crisis. In these situations, rather than work as a system, multiple independent groups attempted to maximize their benefits and profits instead of promoting the system so all could benefit. The result, we all lose.

Her book is eye opening, obvious, evident, disturbing and problematic.  How did this happen when so many are doing what they think is best.  It is an example of what both Deming and Ackoff meant when they said doing the best work is not helpful if you are doing the wrong things.

This story is also outlined in this movie, “Healing Cancer from the Inside Out”. It is available on Amazon and below on YouTube when posted. First is the trailer, then the movie.

Please keep in mind:

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. – Confucius

Rather than work independently, I recommend the practice of paneugenesis. This practice works to generate comprehensive improvements to creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. There is no downside to doing this. Why would we do anything else?

Make it a Great Day, Week, Year and Life!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Email me if you want to discuss: 
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Great Holiday Present for Self

Happy Holidays!  I hope all are making it a great holiday season.  If you are interested in getting yourself a holiday present, I recommend the book I just finished, Recovery Break Through!: Using muscle testing for accelerated recovery and increased performance. I see the Kindle Edition is only $2.99. Either way, I look forward to all of us working together to make 2019 a Great Year.  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Here is the review I posted on GoodReads:

Great book. Not sure I would have believed most of what was written had I not experienced this helpful and valuable therapy. Myself, my wife and kids all have had therapy and it is as good as advertised. To me this is a much more appropriate way of care, being proactive to be better, or well’R as I promote. Approaches, as originally termed by Amory Lovins in 1975 can take a “soft path” or a “hard path”. Lovins explained the “soft path” would be with the natural rhythms of the world, like with renewable energy, and this would not have many detrimental side effects because of its compatibility with nature and our socio-political values. The “hard path”, on the other hand, for energy requires digging ancient sunshine from fossil fuels and burning it with factories and excavation, which we all know has multiple negative impacts on society. His words are prescient and this idea of a soft or hard path can be applied to most issues. In health the “soft path” is called salutogenesis or a health creation and or a health origins approach and the “hard path” is the pathogenesis approach or disease origins, fix the problem approach. The KORE “soft path” approach is important and valuable because despite doing all everything we can to be well, things still happen or as explained by this book, imbalances, and using KORE helps without causing other damaging problems or side-effects. It would be helpful to get this approach more common in America. I encourage all to learn about Dr. Brazier’s KORE Therapy.

For me this is another way to go on offense to create health promotion gains as I discussed in this interviewAdvancing Wellness Interview about Causing Health, and in this articleArticle: Going on Offense to Enable Health Gains Published.

Please share your thoughts on how you will take action to help create a better tomorrow. Lets make it a Great Holiday Season and Make 2019 Great!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Best Practices are Contraindicated for Improvement

** Valuable input related to statistical theory was provided Allen Scott for this post

The concept of “Best Practices,” is often the well-intentioned aim of many best efforts (see We are Being Ruined by Best Intentions and Best Efforts).  Upon reflection, for several reasons, “Best practices” is contraindicated for any goal that aims to continually improve.

1.  “Best Practices” is a misnomer.  Best practices means this those practices are the standard adn are what should be done.  If not, it suggests operating procedures are being done incorrectly or have there are problematic processes.  This means implementing “Best Practices” will fix problems and get things back to where they should be.  This also means these efforts do not actually “improve.”  Our goals should be to exceed expectations – see video.

2. “Best Practices” implies an end point, that is, once the best practices are adopted – we are done.  Adopting “Best Practices” cannot lead to the best outcomes, over the longer term, because conditions constantly change and these changing conditions means practices must be continually improved.  It is for this reason, practices should be assessed or monitored using Process Behavior Charts** regularly so efforts can be continually improved.  The idea of “Best Practices” runs counter to the idea of continual improvement.

3. Best practices are always contextual, that is they depend on the circumstances.  What is being understood as best practices were best for where they were developed and used but may not apply to the situation where they are being applied.

4. Even more concerning about “Best Practices” is the idea that supposed best practices are being implemented on top of current practices before the existing processes are assessed and understood.  This means efforts could be considered full scale tampering. How could it be known whether these “Best Practices” were not already being used?  Additionally, this type of tampering is problematic because we are adjusting the processes based on the results instead of first understanding the existing process.  Tampering always results in greater variation and worse results, most notably over the longer term.

Instead, study successful practices that led to desired outcomes. In addition, at the same time, it is important to learn more about current processes to see how to improve existing efforts rather than tamper with those processes.  This can be done by conducting research and empowering those involved by getting them real-time information about relevant processes by having them Flow Chart their processes and showing them how to use process behavior charts.  This information help them understand how to improve their processes as it relates to the overall system.  Improving the system will help not only with the project at hand, it will also help the organization become a national model  because it will help the organization more effectively achieve its mission and as a by-product have higher profitability, improved employee morale, higher customer satisfaction, lower wastes and be more likely to create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Many points captured here are expressed in this updated version of the video about how to Exceed Expectations.  Enjoy.

5. If needed, here is more information about the theory of variation (statistical theory):

**Walter Shewhart discovered two causes of variation in any process that changes over time:

 • Common causes — causes that are inherent in a system (process or product) over time, affect everyone working in the system and affect all outcomes of the system. 

• Special causes — causes that are not always part of a system (process or product) or do not affect everyone, but arise because of specific circumstances.

If only common causes of variation are present, the system is stable or predictable, it has an identity, and prediction of future performance is possible, with a high degree of belief.  When Special or assignable causes are present, this makes the system unstable and unpredictable.  This means we will not be able to accurately predict future performance of the system.

Shewhart created a tool most recently called the Process Behavior Chart to separate the two sources of variation and guide the action of management. Understanding the source of variation directs action by management. If this theory of variation is not understood, most attempts at improvement (in stable systems) will fail and many will make things worse. W. Edwards Deming called these actions without knowledge “tampering.” Applied, Shewhart theory will help us to realize no amount of care, skill, and hard work  will overcome fundamental flaws in our system. If we keep doing what we are doing, we will keep getting about what we are getting. Feedback from current and especially past successes and failures will also be critical information for systemic change. The problems cannot be understood or evaluated without the aid of statistical theory and the effects of any attempt at improvement cannot be evaluated without statistical methods. 

I look forward to hearing about how you continually improve your processes so you are able to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Help make it a Great Week for everyone and everything!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

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Healthy Fast Food? Will it work?

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Will this be a trend?  Amy’s Drive Thru is offering local sourced healthy, organic fast food at a restaurant.  Many of you have probably already seen her products at your local grocer.  Here is the menu of the restaurant.  Below is the FastCompany article about this new restaurant.

If you have been to this restaurant or not, please share your thoughts about the experience and or idea.

America’s First Meat-Free Fast-Food Restaurant Is Getting Ready To Expand

Launched two years ago in a small town in Northern California, Amy’s Drive Thru has been a runaway success–much to the surprise of the owners, who now hope to take it nationwide.

BY EILLIE ANZILOTTI5 MINUTE READ

Off Exit 484A on 101 North through Rohnert Park, California, you’ll find the usual roadside offerings: There’s a Burger King and a Taco Bell, and marginally more exciting, there’s a Chick-fil-A and an In-N-Out Burger. But right off the road that bisects the interstate, you’ll find a fast-food restaurant that’s like the others only in format. Amy’s Drive Thru is America’s first vegetarian, organic, gluten-free-optional fast-food restaurant, and much to the surprise of the owners, it’s doing more than holding its own against its greasy competitors in the Rohnert Park off-ramp complex.

Business has been so booming at Amy’s Drive Thru in its two years of operation that it’s beginning a franchise. A new location is slated to take over an abandoned Denny’s further south off the 101 in Corte Madera in 2018, with an eye to five more Northern California locations soon to follow. The ultimate goal, director of operations Paul Schiefer tells Fast Company, is to open Amy’s Drive Thrus all across the country.

[Photo: courtesy Amy’s Drive Thru]

A nationwide franchise of Amy’s outposts was far from inevitable when the company first began to mull the idea of a drive-through location a few years ago. For 29 years, the Petaluma, California-based Amy’s Kitchen has gained a cult following as a purveyor of family-style, vegetarian frozen meals, from macaroni and cheese to burritos, all handmade fresh in three operating facilities across California, Oregon, and Idaho, and shipped nationwide. The ingredients are sourced locally and organically, whenever possible, and the recipes are not put through the usual taste-test-and-tweak ringer; instead, they’re often sourced from employee’s family recipe books, and given a green light if a handful of Amy’s staff agrees that it tastes good. “There’s something about all culture’s home-cooked food that really speaks to everyone,” Amy’s food researcher Fred Scarpulla Jr., who started at the company in 1996, tells Fast Company. The go-with-your-gut, family-centric approach, Scarpulla says, makes Amy’s unique, but translating that ethos into a fast-food joint able to compete with the mass-produced likes of Burger King posed a challenge.The things that make franchises like Burger King and McDonald’s so ubiquitous are low costs and efficiency. Look at a menu in one of those restaurants, and you won’t see a lot of specialization: Sure, there’s a gluten-free option, but it’s a burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf, not in a gluten-free bun. And good luck finding anything vegetarian or vegan. They know their market, and they mass-produce to meet it accordingly, driving down costs in the process.

[Photo: courtesy Amy’s Drive Thru]

Amy’s, Scarpulla says, has never been about driving down costs, or ignoring more niche markets–instead, it’s prioritizing sustainability and quality as its core values. The drive-through is powered by solar panels, and the tableware is recyclable. Using mostly organic and local produce for ingredients is more expensive, but it’s what customers expect from the company, and while Scarpulla admits that Amy’s makes little to no profit on its gluten-free options like pizzas, the owners, he adds, “have always felt that there’s a service piece to our business, and that’s to serve people who don’t have other options.”Instead of a swift-moving, utilitarian kitchen, the culinary operation at Amy’s Drive Thru is necessarily divided into thirds, with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options all prepared separately so as not to cross-contaminate. Whereas a standard fast-food restaurant has around 15 employees per outpost, Amy’s Drive Thru employs over 90 because it takes many more people to prepare the food. Even so, all are paid at above minimum wage, and with full benefits. And with a single-patty veggie cheeseburger clocking in at $3.99, just around a dollar more than the McDonald’s offering, Amy’s is not exactly pitching itself to a higher tax bracket.

[Photo: courtesy Amy’s Drive Thru]

With all those considerations–wanting to keep prices low, hold onto their values, and not cut production quality or staff–Amy’s Drive Thru, at the beginning, was just hoping to stay afloat and break even. “There were a number of us at the company who were involved in the planning, and before we opened the first location, we threw around a couple revenue numbers that we would have considered ‘a success,’” Scarpulla says. Though Amy’s does not release financials, Scarpulla says the company doubled or tripled those numbers in the first year alone, and have been breezing past them since. “It’s just been ridiculous for us,” he says.

When Scarpulla started at the company in 1996, this would not have been the case. But in recent years, he says, he and the staff at Amy’s have noticed an uptick in interest around plant-based foods, and an increased awareness of the harm meat does to the body and to the planet. While Amy’s has emphasized the home-cooked, family-style nature of its recipes over the fact that they are all vegetarian or vegan, Scarpulla has found that people lately have more naturally gravitated toward the health aspect of its offerings–a trend that has certainly carried through in the success of the drive thru; other healthy fast-casual ventures, like Everytable in Los Angeles, and this salad-based drive through in Arizona, have also benefited.

[Photo: courtesy Amy’s Drive Thru]

A true cross-country empire of Amy’s locations is still far off, but Scarpulla is optimistic that the company can make it happen. The company wants to expand slowly, to ensure that they can partner with local farmers and producers around each location (Scarpulla is particularly excited about indoor growing ventures for sourcing organic leafy greens), and to understand where the drive-throughs could have the greatest effect in breaking up health-food deserts. But the fact that the company is beginning to plan for this kind of expansion, he adds, is symbolic in and of itself. Drive-throughs are some of the most stereotypically American places to consume food, and right now, “when you think about drive-throughs, it’s all so focused on industrial meat, and one quick look at that industry is enough to tell you that it’s pretty nasty,” Scarpulla says. What if quality, local, meat-free fast-food could come to be seen as just as all-American as a Big Mac?

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Conventional not Organic Farmers Should Pay a Premium

To practice paneugenesis means to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.  Incumbent with these efforts means we will also be redesigning reality.  To redesign reality this means we need to build a better system that supports, encourages, nurtures and reinforces improvements.

To build a better system, a system must have multiple interdependent parts that can function as much on their own as possible while also contributing to making the whole system better. That means that each part contributes to the whole system and does not take from, or is a detriment to it.

This past week I attended the first East Carolina University Sustainability Symposium.  It was excellent.  While being inspired by speakers and from discussions with colleagues, we realized a way we could help redesign reality to improve the system and encourage paneugenesis.  A discussion with Anna Martin, Program Coordinator at the Water Resource s Research Institute, led to this post. The symposium and related discussion yielded these ideas to generate improvements…

Currently, organic farmers pay a premium to grow and sell organic food – while conventional farmers pay nothing additional.  This also translates to a higher cost to consumers for organic food.  Thus it is a deterrent from buying or growing organic food. Despite the premium costs associated with organic foods, reports suggest purchases of organic foods are growing dramatically, over 100% per year.

From a systems perspective, organic farmers are a positive contributing interdependent component of the whole system.  Organic farmers improve the system while contributing to it, by providing healthy food to humans, without taking away from the whole system.  Conventional farmers on the other hand are not able to function without getting external inputs in the form of petroleum fertilizers to be able to produce their output.  The fertilizers then hurt the whole system in many ways such as contributing to climate change, leaching carbon, and by hurting other species such as bee’s and in many other ways. (see figure below)

Assessment of organic farming relative to conventional farming in the four major areas of sustainability.

Assessment of organic farming relative to conventional farming in the four major areas of sustainability. Source: Nature Plants 2, Article number: 15221 (2016) doi:10.1038/nplants.2015.22it

Obviously, having contributing organic farmers pay a premium while damaging conventional farmers pay nothing does not make sense.  After thinking about it, we realized a simple change would yield a better system.  Instead of having organic farmers pay to grow their food, have conventional farmers who pollute the land, water and air with petroleum based insecticides and herbicides pay the premium. Currently conventional farmers defer those costs to consumers and citizens who pay for it with damaged water, air, and land which leads to a lower quality of life and additional disease care costs for all.  In addition this situation creates a system that nudges or encourages people to make unwise choices.

Despite a system that gives organic food a disadvantage, consumers are choosing organic foods and science indicates it is better for the people, land, water, and air.  To improve the system, shouldn’t the polluters, so-called conventional farmers, rather than the organic food producers, be the farmers who pay the premium?  Costs to grow organic food are rightly used for inspections and the certification process.  It seems it would make more sense to charge farmers who choose to pollute the food and land to pay for inspections and certifications.  This then means they could avoid that premium by growing food organically instead of growing food by adding ecologically damaging petroleum based herbicides and insecticides.

If  polluters paid a premium, the system would change from encouraging the use of polluting methods to supporting, encouraging, nurturing and reinforcing health promoting practices.  Such a change could have dramatic positive effects on the quality of our personal and planetary health. This change would also make organic, not petroleum laced food, the less expensive and natural, or default choice.

Contact your senators and the USDA to advocate for smart policies like this that support, encourage and reinforce agriculture practices that contribute to healthier personal and planetary health. Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Great Documentary to Watch: “Food Choices”

I watched “Food Choices” on Netflix (it is available through many sources). I thought it was a great documentary about how to make good choices and the impact of food choices on personal and planetary well-being.

I liked it because it was not heavy handed. I posted two trailers below. I encourage you to watch it and share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

Growing Healthier Food, People, & Communities

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Urban Farmer Creates Growing Power

The success story of Will Allen is similar to my former post, Urban Farmer Puts Selfish, Selfless, Synergy in Action. This post however is about former basketball star Will Allen’s Growing Power organization. His book, The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People and Communities provides more detailed information about this successful ongoing project.

His efforts, some outlined in video’s below, demonstrates how someone can take action to create healthy food, provide jobs, nutrition, self-worth and value in ways that benefit everyone. His persistence toward creating the greater good has created a movement that benefits all and gives back to our environment.

A super impressive part of these efforts is how he grows healthy soil and also uses it to provide heat and energy without any waste – like nature. I encourage all to learn more about his beneficial efforts to see how he is generating comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

 

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Tree’s to Nuts to People – ALL Connected SuperCooperators

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The hypothesis that the earth is one organism with many INTERDEPENDENT parts makes sense to me. This is also called the Gaia Hypothesis. Here is information from James Lovelock who claims to be originator of Gaia Theory. Previously we may not have understood this because we sought independence with the every man/women for him/herself philosophy. This may have been because we did not have evidence of how we are all connected. The lack of available evidence was misleading. As Nassim Taleb explains in his book Black Swan,

Absence of evidence is often confused with evidence of its absence.

In the book he cites previous advice not to breast feed our babies because they did not have evidence of its benefit. It was mistakenly believed that because they could not see the benefits, the meant there were no benefits. Of course now we better understand benefits, with many still unknown, to infants who receive milk from their mother after birth.

The absence of evidence of benefits being confused with evidence of its absence is now playing a role in forestry. As Suzanne Simard describes in her TED Talk, “How Trees Talk to Each Other”, she documents how diverse trees are INTERDEPENDENT and help each other. These findings also seem to document, once again, how everything on earth his interdependent suggesting efforts to create interactions so everyone and everything benefits helps us create comprehensive improvements.

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Martin Nowak documents, just as Ms. Simard explains, we are not competitors and when we collaborate and work as cooperators with others and the environment benefits ensue.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Phenotype Plasticity – We Shape Our Future

We respond, adjust and adapt based on environmental stressors. The big issue Daniel Lieberman discusses in his book, The Story of the Human Body : Evolution, Health, and Disease, are how the stressors, what was present in our environment, shaped us into who we are today. He explains how the cultural revolution has outpaced biological revolution and is now the driving force. The reason our environment is so important and a driving force is because it shapes us and has added meaning to the idea of plasticity.

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This book also explains why and how so much of the work by a variety of people relate. It explains why doing certain things or creating specific environment Nudges, as described by Thaler and Sustein, pushes our bodies to respond, adapt and change because of our reaction to present stressors.

The idea of plasticity is getting a lot of press lately. A lot of news has been shed about brain plasticity and how the brain continues to evolve and change based on its environmental stressors. Examples are shown from meditators and how their brains have changed because of their meditation practices. We also hear all the time about people doing things that were supposedly impossible. Of course impossibility is a situational statement.

Those impossibility statements mean it is impossible based on what we know and can do now, TODAY. At one time flying, going to the moon, running the 4 minute mile, and even making video calls was thought to be impossible. Even the late Christopher Reeves, who played Superman in the movies, who was paralyzed in a horsing accident, taught himself to walk again, something supposedly impossible.

To me what this means is that we have to be creators of the environment we want, not passive consumers. In other words we must create an environment that nurtures, supports, encourages, and reinforces factors that create a desirable future. Some examples Lieberman shares in his book of how what we do shapes what we become relate to issues with our feet, our teeth, obesity and diabetes which he argues does not have to be our evolutionary destiny.

He explains in detail we evolved to move and stress our body through movement. He demonstrates how our movements helped us realize our potential by creating strengths and abilities that were built in but not yet developed. With regard to feet, he suggests orthotics or other shoes that soften the stress on our foot only worsens any problems by weakening rather than strengthening our feet. He says we should work to develop strength in our feet and then our foot muscles will not become strained and inflamed, which he explains is the cause of the pain.

In a personal example, my girls got warts on their feet from hours and hours of gymnastics. To treat the wart the doctor burned the the bottom of the wart. I asked why and she said that doing so ignites our own immune system and then immune system treats the wart. I am sure there is more to it but sure enough, within a week the warts were gone. This is another example to show how our body adapts adjusts and correspondingly reacts to the environmental stressors, a burn in this case.

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To me one of the most interesting issues he discussed focused on teeth. Of course we have more cavities today because we eat more sugar and starches than in our evolution because of farming, but we have created a remedy – dentists. What I found very educational was when he says data suggests our jaws have become 5-10% smaller over the last few thousand years because our food is easy to chew from processing. He cites data that indicates if we stressed our jaw more during our youth with vigorous chewing, even sugar free gum chewing, our jaws would be bigger. If our jaws were bigger, it would eliminate the need for the common practice of wisdom teeth removal. After all, why would we have evolved to have more teeth than our jaw could hold. Our ancestors did not have dentists who removed wisdom teeth – because there was no need. On a personal note, I chewed a lot of gum when I was young and I have not had  need to get my wisdom teeth removed, very coincidental.

With regard to obesity and diabetes, he suggests these conditions are outcomes of what we were evolved to do. Evolution did not prepare us to live in a world of abundant food and leisure. Eating and behaving, evolution says eat and relax, however our actions create outcomes and those outcomes are results of our actions. Our actions are the result of how we react to the environments we choose.

Another highly publicized example of our personal plasticity was made popular by Dr. Carol Dweck. I posted about her findings related to brain plasticity and the growth and fixed mindset here with McDonough and Braungart’s Upcycle work. To document the significant power of the brain, Alia Crum continued this work to show how just thinking about food can create physiological response. If you wan to learn more, I wrote about Dr. Crum’s work here.

Our stress response represents an even more basic level of our plasticity. We can learn new things or stress our brain to learn new things in school or at work and our brain capacity and potential expands – an example of plasticity. This is how our brain evolved. As I posted before more can be learned from Kelly McGonigal’s TED Talk – Stress Can Improve Your Health and here.

If you are interested in learning more, I am again offering links to a TED Presentation he made and interview he had with Brian Lehrer and Steven Colbert. I found them interesting. Enjoy.

This link takes you to Lieberman Interview on Brian Lehrer Show  BL

This link takes you to his interview with Stephen Colbert On the Colbert Report  Unknown 

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Updated: “The Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition”

I started reading Colin Campbell’s “The Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition”. I previously read and was mesmerized by his, “The China Study”, it was great. I recommend both. I know “The China Study” is a Bad name for a book, but the content is fantastic.

 

With regard to “The Whole”, in the first section he emphasizes that he is very upset with the system and wants the truth to be known. He is upset because he says money interests have silenced the words of science and the strong and valid findings  showing nutrition is more powerful than any other method to promote health and treat disease. He says nutrition is being silenced because it does not support our established way of understanding how things work or our current paradigm. He makes it clear that nutrition findings are being challenged because it may do harm to how many make money today.

An example of the influence of money on research was published on October 6, 2019 in the New York Times, “Scientist Who Discredited Meat Guidelines Didn’t Report Past Food Industry Ties” by Tara Parker-Pope and Anahad O’Connor. These scientists are using the same techniques described in Do Not Let Deniers Doubt Dissuade post by supporting doubt. Doubt is instilled through misdirection or taking attention away from facts just as magician misdirects a persons attention away so people thinks the trick is magic.  This analogy is used in Naomi Oreskes’ excellent film, “Merchants of Doubt“.

To support his post, I am sharing a powerful part of the beginning. He explains that if Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) nutrition were a pill, what he says could be could be called “Eunutria”, its label would have this powerful list of scientifically proven effects:

  • Prevents 95% of all cancers including those caused by environmental toxins
  • Prevents nearly all heart attacks and strokes
  • Reverses even severe heart disease
  • Prevents and reverses type 2 diabetes so quickly and profoundly  that after 3 days it is dangerous to keep using insulin
  • Gets you to your ideal weight in a healthy sustainable way
  • Eliminates most migraines, acne, colds and flue, chronic pain and intestinal distress
  • Improves energy
  • Cures Erectile dysfunction
  • Slows and possibly reverses global warming
  • Reduces groundwater contamination
  • Ends the need for deforestation
  • Shuts down factory farms
  • Reduces malnutrition and dislocation among worlds poorest

It is results and information like this that has encouraged and motivated me to do my best to adopt a Whole Food Plant Based eating plan. By eating this way I can feel good about my choices because it is a way to use selfish, selfless, synergy to practice paneugenesis which means I contribute to comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Not only do I help everyone and everything benefit, it provides me with a good feeling for  doing something good, gives me energy and vitality and also helps prevent things I want to avoid. Why would I want to make any other choice with regard to food? What do you think? Let me know how you help everyone and everything benefit.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker, PhD

New Article about Creating Health Published

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With my colleagues, our new article, Adapting and Using Quality Management Methods to Improve Health Promotion, has been published. You can access the journal article here. This is the abstract. If you have time to review it, I am interested in your thoughts. Thank you.

Abstract:

Although the western world is the most technologically advanced civilization to date, it is also the most addicted, obese, medicated, and in-debt adult population in history. Experts had predicted that the 21st century would be a time of better health and prosperity. Although wealth has increased, our quest to quell health problems using a pathogenic approach without understanding the intercon- nectedness of everyone and everything has damaged per- sonal and planetary health. While current efforts help identify and eliminate causes of problems, they do not facilitate the creation of health and well-being as would be done with a salutogenic approach. Sociologist Aaron Anto- novsky coined the term salutogenesis in 1979. It is derived from salus, which is Latin for health, and genesis, meaning to give birth. Salutogenesis, the study of the origins and creation of health, provides a method to identify an interconnected way to enhance well-being. Salutogenesis provides a framework for a method of practice to improve health promotion efforts. This article illustrates how quality management methods can be used to guide health promo- tion efforts focused on improving health beyond the absence of disease.

Key words: Quality, salutogenesis, health, systems

PDF of Article

Be Well’r,

Craig M. Becker, PhD

Lets all make life more livable for all by generating comprehensive benefits by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

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