Unlock Your Fountain of Youth by Unlocking These Six Elements of Energy

Scott Sharon Consulting

business man jump with blue sky, full length, asian male

1. Air: The most critical element for energy, or even life, is oxygen. Without Oxygen we would die in just a few minutes. Since it is just about everywhere and it’s free and easy to get you would think getting enough would never be a problem. However, in order to receive a good supply of oxygen we must breathe properly. Unfortunately, unless we are a long distance runner or athlete we get into the habit of taking shallow breaths through our mouths using only the chest muscles around our rib cage. To ensure we receive enough oxygen for good energy we need to breathe deeply using our diaphragm at the bottom of our lungs. Breathing through the nose helps filter and warm up the air before reaching the lungs. Breathing this way will deliver much more oxygen to our bodies for increased energy. Do the following exercise to increase your…

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Unlock Your Fountain of Youth by Unlocking These Six Elements of Energy

business man jump with blue sky, full length, asian male

1. Air: The most critical element for energy, or even life, is oxygen. Without Oxygen we would die in just a few minutes. Since it is just about everywhere and it’s free and easy to get you would think getting enough would never be a problem. However, in order to receive a good supply of oxygen we must breathe properly. Unfortunately, unless we are a long distance runner or athlete we get into the habit of taking shallow breaths through our mouths using only the chest muscles around our rib cage. To ensure we receive enough oxygen for good energy we need to breathe deeply using our diaphragm at the bottom of our lungs. Breathing through the nose helps filter and warm up the air before reaching the lungs. Breathing this way will deliver much more oxygen to our bodies for increased energy. Do the following exercise to increase your oxygen supply and get into the habit of breathing correctly:

Take a full breath in, using your diaphragm and breathing through your nose. Count to 5 slowly(count thousand one, thousand two, etc) as you breath in. At the end of 5 counts do the same thing as you breathe out fully. Do this 5 times to complete the exercise.   Complete this exercise 5 times each day until you get into the habit of breathing this way. You can tell this works because if you take in really large breaths too quickly you will get a little dizzy.

2. Water: The second most important element for life and energy is water. We can only live a few days without it. 60% of our bodies are made up of water and some parts an even higher percentage. Our bodies cannot function properly without an adequate supply. Some of the most critical uses is to digest our food and deliver fuel to our muscles (through blood) to burn for energy. It is also used to expel carbon dioxide and waste from our body. Again, since water is so easy to obtain in this country you would not expect the lack of water to be a problem, but it is with a large percentage of us. A good “rule of thumb” to ensure we consume an adequate supply is to consume at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. You may need more at times if you are doing something that may cause you to perspire heavily. NO!! Coffee, beer, wine and many other liquids we love do not count due to their dehydrating properties.

 3. Food: This is by far the most complicated of the six items I will discuss and it would take a long time to fully cover it so I will just make a few comments. Good food is critical to our bodies for energy, health and life. People have been known to live for months without food because of all the fat and other sources of energy stored in their bodies, so, in that sense, it is not as critical to life in the short term as the first two items. The type and amount of food we eat will determine our quality of health and weight as well as our energy levels. Since this element is much more costly and more difficult to obtain than the first two you would expect all people to suffer a lack of food. However, in this country we seem to consume too much, especially the bad foods.

One thing that makes this subject so complicated is that we hear so many different and often conflicting reports on which foods are healthy and which aren’t. One of many examples of that is; I heard since I was a child how important dairy products were to my good health, but now, after some research, I have read several reports stating how unhealthy dairy products are, especially for adults.

You would expect the FDA and our politicians to help us out on this important issue but they actually make it more difficult for us. They do more harm than good. We have to be very careful about what reports we believe.  When we hear the results of a new research project that may find certain foods or drinks are good for us it’s always a good idea to check to see who funded the research and, if you can, find out if there are any political contributions involved that may sway the report one way or another.  

It’s also very easy to get sucked in by great marketing. Skilled marketers can make just about any food seem much better and healthier than it is. A great example is some of the soft drink commercials. Watching their commercials make you believe you can’t live without their product when in most cases it is very unhealthy. Also, some foods are good for some of us and bad for others because we are all different.

Another major source of confusion is all the diets you hear about. In the long run most diets don’t work nearly as well as simply using your common sense and eat the way you know you should. If you need help seek a good registered dietician. There again, what works for some of us may not work for others.  

4. Exercise: Our bodies are made to move, not sit in one spot all day. The old term “use it or lose it” definitely applies to our muscles and energy supply. Our bodies will adapt to the conditions we put it under, either good or bad. One great example I see of this is the ever increasing number of men I see with their heads tilted forward and their bodies slumped over. What do you think causes this? If you spend a large part of your day every day slumped over a computer or cell phone your body will retain that shape. However, there are simple things you can do to prevent or correct this problem. The longer you let it go the more difficult it is to correct.

Experts say we need a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week that elevates your heart rate(cardio) and keeps your muscles working properly. If we don’t do this it will gradually become more difficult to move and our energy supply will continue to decline and be stored as fat. There are many other bad things that will happen to our bodies if we don’t get an adequate amount of exercise. If you want to keep the fat off, you need to eat and drink the way you know you should and keep up your body’s metabolism. The calories you burn during the exercise are usually not as much as the extra calories you burn all day long with a higher metabolism. 

I walk and run 2 and one quarter miles to my gym and back about four times per week and I work out at least 45 minutes each time. I can honestly say I like doing that so it is not difficult for me to do. When I walk or run I feel like I weigh 100 pounds when I actually weigh 200! That’s a great feeling! It makes me sad to think that many other people don’t or maybe never experienced that feeling.

Just like your muscles, it’s also very important to exercise your brain frequently. No! Watching TV or movies does not exercise your brain; however, there are certain games that will.

5. Rest: Your body, primarily your brain, needs a certain amount of rest in order to repair, rebuild and recharge itself.  If we don’t receive the required amount of rest it will have a bad effect on our bodies and energy supply the next day. All our bodies are different so we all need different amounts of sound sleep. The most common amount we hear is 8 hours but for some people it could be a little less.   

6. Attitude: Our attitude is extremely important, not only to our energy supply but our quality of life. The great news is this may be the easiest of the six items to adjust and control and likely the most important for you! It’s difficult for most people to comprehend just how much effect their attitude has on the quality of their lives. We all know people that seem to smile and be happy all the time and we know those that complain and seem to be in a bad mood all the time.  This happens even if both people live under the exact same conditions. If you think you are tired you will be tired. If you think life is difficult it will be difficult. Do you remember the old quote “Whether you think you can or you can’t you are correct”? Just a simple change in your attitude will have a huge effect on your life, either good or bad.

How Can We Live a Long Healthy Life?

Our life span is increasing quickly because with new technology we are developing many exciting new medicines and treatments. However, at the same time, our health and quality of life is getting worse more quickly than ever. What is wrong and how can we fix it?

There is a huge health problem facing people in the United States and it is getting worse every day! I am determined to spend the remainder of my life doing whatever I can to help solve this problem. I’m hopeful after reading this some of you will join me in this endeavor. Following is the experience that brought me to this decision.

Fifteen years ago I woke up one morning and could not get out of bed. I could not sit up and had great difficulty moving my body. I could not figure out what was wrong with me. With a lot of effort I finally rolled over and fell out of bed onto the floor. When my wife, Becky Sharon, found me lying on the floor trying to move she wanted to call an ambulance but I convinced her not to. I told her I would be fine soon. I was just having a dizzy spell and lost my balance. After several minutes of this I realized I was not going to be able to stand up or “shake if off” so I agreed to let her and my son take me to the hospital.

The first doctor I saw at the emergency room told me to take an aspirin per day and was ready to send me home. Lucky for me Becky was with me because she insisted on a second opinion; all I wanted to do was get out of there and go home. Unfortunately, the next doctor we saw was not that great either, however, he did tell me I was suffering from a stroke. I spent the day there getting tests. The second doctor could not find the cause of my stroke and even after a third opinion still no cause was discovered. 

Becky was determined to find a doctor that would find the cause of my stroke.  Luckily, a family friend gave us a referral to a great doctor who found the cause of the stroke.  It was caused by a perfect storm; a long airplane flight, a hole in my heart that did not close at adulthood as it should have and a blood clot that developed on the plane because of a genetic protein in my blood that made it clot too easily. The third doctor said we had to find out what caused the stroke ASAP or I could have another stroke with much worse results. He had some tests done and I was put on a blood thinner that night. Thank God I had Becky with me or who knows what would have happened.

I completed a few months of physical therapy and learned how to get around better but I could not walk without holding onto something. The hospital sent a walker home with me, but I refused to use it. I wanted it out of the house. My doctors told me it was very likely I would never walk again without assistance, most likely a wheelchair or maybe, if I was lucky, crutches. I refused to accept that. I did not want to live like that for the remainder of my life so I worked and pushed myself really hard. I eventually learned to walk again and even progressed to the point where I could run. Physically, I recovered 100% in less than a year. However, I did not know it at the time but my brain function did not fully recover. Part of my brain died from the stroke and other events in my life. It was also determined that I had two smaller strokes earlier in my life I knew nothing about.

Several months after my stroke I had a meeting scheduled in Miami with The Coca-Cola Company and Burger King to work out the details of a very large project I had been working on before the stroke. I went back to work about three weeks after the stroke, which in retrospect was way too early.  I had to go to the meeting because it was my project and it was a huge deal for my company.  No one else could do it. I assured everyone I was capable of attending the meeting.  I flew to Miami early the morning of the meeting. When I got off the plane in Miami I could not remember where I was or why I was there. Later I asked someone and they told me I was in the Miami airport.

I remained in the airport several hours trying to figure out why I was there. I eventually found something in my briefcase with Becky’s name and number on it so I called her. She told me why I was there and then it all came back to me. I immediately called someone at Burger King and was told the meeting was over but everyone was going to meet later in a hotel for dinner and they wanted me there. The hotel was one I stayed in many times before, but I could not figure out where the hotel was or how to get there. With some help from a friend at Burger King I eventually found the hotel and made the meeting.  

I thought the problems I was having were due to the shock of the stroke and it would eventually get better but it was worse than I thought. Often I would not remember where I was, what I was doing or where I needed to be. Many times I would have a conversation with a customer and not remember the conversation or what I was supposed to do the next day. I was not used to taking notes because before the stroke I had a great memory and never forgot anything. At times I would have problems finding my way to familiar places such as my office. Some of my memory problems improved but my sense of direction did not. It got to the point where I could not find the local grocery store we shopped in for years, just one mile from home, without GPS. I was very angry and frustrated most of the time. It seemed every time I drove somewhere I got lost.  Becky and my family knew something was wrong but I would not admit it to myself, or them, and I hid it well from everyone.

A couple years after the stroke we moved to Naples and I got to know several highly recommended doctors there because I had to visit one every month to have my blood checked so I would not have another stroke. I eventually met Dr. Jacqueline Romero. She has been by far the best doctor I have ever had the privilege of knowing. During one of my first visits I was giving her some advice on marketing and she made the following statement I will never forget. “Scott, you are a very intelligent guy but something is wrong with you”. I was shocked but started asking her questions. I did not want to admit I still had problems with my brain.

My wife, Becky and Dr. Romero studied brain health, functional medicine, nutrition and several other forms of brain science which I found very interesting. Luckily I was fortunate enough to learn by also being a patient. They studied together and separately. They became certified in Dr. Daniel Amen’s brain health coaching course that focuses on brain functions, brain scanning and repairing. This certification led to all three of us going to one of Dr. Amen’s clinics in Atlanta where we all had our brains scanned.

My scan showed the part of my brain that was damaged from the stroke(s) and from several other events in my past. I had consumed many bad foods and drinks with lots of sugar and artificial sweeteners. I started boxing when I was ten and did a lot of it, all without protective headgear. I was knocked out the first time when I was twelve years old. I had several concussions from playing football in school. I had two bad falls and hit my head very hard while running. I also had damage from Agent Orange and PTSD from Vietnam. Also, I hate to admit it but I smoked at a very young age but quit at about age 15. Smoking causes stress on the brain and uses up reserve brain cells.  I did not understand at the time that I had been depleting my brain cell reserves.  Stress on our brain compounds and at some point, someday, it starts depleting reserves instead of building them to deal with stress.  It does not matter if it is self-imposed or not.

When I saw the scan of my brain at Dr. Amen’s clinic I was shocked and extremely upset. So much of it was damaged or simply missing! However, Becky said I got the largest smile on my face she had ever seen when they told me my brain could be grown back with certain treatments and nutrients. That was a lifesaver!   

The protocol Dr. Amen’s team gave me was to have 40 one hour sessions in a hyperbaric chamber and 20 sessions of neurofeedback. The hyperbaric chamber promotes the growth of new capillaries (small blood vessels) so the neurons in my brain could grow back. Neurofeedback will rewirethe brain so it will function properly again.

The hyperbaric chamber treatments were very expensive in Naples so in June of 2017 I went to Cincinnati where the sessions were much less expensive. I lived most of my life in the Cincinnati area and I knew how to get everywhere. When I arrived I could not find my son’s or daughter’s house without using GPS, even though I had been to both many times.I took two sessions per day in the chamber or ten per week for two weeks. Nothing happened the first week but I wasn’t worried because I expected it to be a very gradual process. After my 15th session I had a very dramatic experience. I felt as if I just woke up from a 15 year nap. A flood of memories rushed back, even memories from as far back as my Vietnam experience and

my childhood. It was so emotional I just sat there and cried with happiness for a few minutes. When that session was over I ran out to my car and drove around the remainder of the day to many of my favorite places and all the places I had lived. I had no trouble at all finding my way around without GPS.

I completed the remainder of those sessions in Cincinnati and came home. Becky and Dr. Romero purchased a hyperbaric chamber for use in their practice and I did the remaining 20 sessions in it. I continued to get better. My memory was fully restored.  I also did more Neurofeedback in their Brain Health practice.   

I may be biased but I believe Dr. Romero and Becky are brilliant. Dr. Romero is a great functional medicine doctor who sincerely cares about all her patients and is always searching and teaching me what I need to do to live my optimal life. I am amazed at all the things Becky has done and the people she has helped.  She received a Master’s degree in mental health counseling and will soon have her Doctorate. She is now a trained Hypnotherapist and does RTT (Rapid Transformational Therapy). She’s also a certified functional medicine health coach and a neurofeedback clinician. She completed Dr. Amen’s course on his work and has studied with Dr. Romero on Functional Medicine. Her passion and ability to help so many people has been so gratifying it has motivated me to make a difference in people’s lives also.

One of my daughters has been traveling around the world for a year with a program called Remote year. She is traveling with a group of 33 other people, spending a month each in 12 different countries. One of her stops was in Vietnam and she asked me to join her there for 10 days. She asked me to visit the country and speak to her group about the differences between Vietnam today and what it was like when I was there in the war in 1968.

Vietnam was the last place in this world I wanted to be. I never even wanted to talk about my Vietnam experiences, let alone be there! When I was there in 1968 during the war I had many horrible experiences and I never wanted to go back. I did not want to hurt my daughter’s feelings so I came up with several excuses why I could not go. She resolved every issue I came up with so I finally agreed to go.

I flew into Hanoi in February of this year (2019). I was a little nervous but the trip was very easy. Vietnam was not anything like what I was expecting. The people were all happy, courteous and friendly. The food was great and I had some of the best coffee I’ve had in my life. I did something with my daughter and her group every day. We traveled around the country most of the ten days I was there. I gave a ninety-minute presentation (telling my story) to her group.

The things I saw in Vietnam made me realize how much trouble we are in here in the US. The things I mention may not accurately describe the whole country but it’s what I observed. I did not see any overweight people, old people or handicapped people. Everyone appeared happy, healthy and in good shape. In the cities people mostly rode motor bikes or bicycles and in the country, they walk. I spoke to the grandson of a lady I thought was in her 50”s, or maybe her 60’s. She was in a tree picking fruit and he told me she was in her 90’s.  

All photos are © Barbara Cameron Pix

When I returned home in the Ft. Myers, FL, airport I looked around and what I saw made me very sad. I saw many old people in very bad shape. There were wheelchairs, crutches and canes everywhere. Many of the people were overweight, some were hugely overweight. Many had large stomachs and were hunched over. I could tell that many had brains that did not work properly. I couldn’t stop thinking “What have we done to ourselves in this country?” That’s when I decided I wanted to do my part to solve this problem and help as many people as I can.

I will also admit I have been a large contributor to this problem in the past 35 to 40 years. In my career I have helped many companies sell more of their unhealthy food and drinks. However, we can’t blame all these companies because they simply produce and sell what we as customers demand. For example, many years ago Taco Bell switched to a healthy menu and it really hurt them because it did not sell. They had to return to their popular but unhealthy food. Several other chains have tried the same thing with mostly the same results. All these chains can and will provide much healthier and good tasting food if we demand it. Even fried chicken can be healthier by simply using healthier fats.

Following are several major problems that need to be resolved quickly:

Food Supply: The fresh food we grow today is not nearly as healthy as it used to be. A great example is corn. It has been so genetically modified it is not close to what it used to be. What makes it worse is corn and its byproducts are used in a huge amount of our processed foods. It was healthy at one time but is no longer. As an example, about 55 years ago when I was a child on the farm we grew corn to feed our pigs, dairy and beef cattle. We also grew some in our garden for the family. Back then our yield per acre of corn was from 30 to 50 bushels. Today the average yield per acre is 170 bushels. Experts say 28 nutrients are taken from the soil when corn is grown. When farmers fertilize the soil they use over and over again to grow the corn, they only add back three of the ingredients that make it grow faster and larger. When the other 25 nutrients are depleted many of the healthy nutrients in the corn are missing. This is only one of many examples.

The Food Supply Industry: Most of the processed food we find in a grocery or convenient store is unhealthy. I just read something today that stated cereal is mostly sugar and that’s what many parents feed their children. No wonder so many children are obese! Another problem is many foods, such as fruits, are picked before they ripen so they will last longer on the shelves. If they don’t ripen on the tree or vine before they are picked many of the healthy nutrients our bodies need are missing.

Food labeling is such a mess it has become a huge joke! Most people have no idea what’s in the food they buy, even if they bother to read the labels. Although there is government control we have to understand the rules for what’s put on the labels in order to fully understand them. Many of the terms are simply marketing terms and very confusing.

Sugar: Sugar is a huge contributor to our poor health and it is put in an incredible number of processed foods, in one form or another. It’s even in such foods as French Fries. To combat the weight gain problem sugar substitutes were developed. However recent studies have found these sugar substitutes to be harmful to our bodies.

Fat: Our government and many other organizations have told us for years that fat is bad so we have gone through a long fat free or low fat diet craze. However, recent research has found many fats to be very healthy and needed by our bodies, especially from grass fed meat. Recently I have been hearing from some diet organizations such as the Keto diet that eating more fat may actually aid in loosing body fat.

Exercise: Today many adults and children do not get enough exercise. Many seem to be spending more time watching TV, playing games and reading messages on their cell phones or sitting behind a desk all day. We all need a minimum amount of exercise in order for our bodies to perform the way they should and stay healthy.

Alcohol Consumption: Drinking alcoholic beverages has become the primary way we socialize. Today most social events and meals include some form of alcohol. Research has found alcohol to be harmful, especially to the brain.

Drugs: “Big Pharma” has become a huge health problem in the United States. Even though they are developing more and more super drugs that are helpful to treat illnesses, many of these drugs are causing other serious health problems. Today the major motivation for developing a drug is much more for profit than for what it will do to help cure illnesses. Also, there is a growing financial pressure on doctors, if they want to earn an income, to stop the symptoms with drugs rather than cure the problem.

Our Government: Following is one example you can research but there are many more. I’m not saying every politician does this but many do. Our politicians require money to win elections. Some companies and wealthy individuals give them money but they usually expect favors in return. The politicians need for money continues if they stay in office so the favors have to continue.

One example you can research: Many of you may remember Donald Rumsfeld. He was a congressman and held several high government positions. He was the Chief of Staff for President Gerald Ford in 1974-1975. Before he was in that position the artificial sweetener, NutraSweet, was not approved by the FDA because it is a very unhealthy product. While he was in that office NutraSweet was approved. In 1977 he became CEO of the company that made NutraSweet with a huge stock option. Many will say that does not prove anything but if you do your research you will find many examples of similar situations.  

Just so this article is not all negative following are some good things to talk about:

Longevity: Because of developing science we are now adding 3 months to our average life span every year. By the year 2030 that number is predicted to go up to adding one year every year.     

Treatments: Science has been developing new effective treatments for many illnesses and finding cures for many. This is predicted to continue at a faster rate.

Science: Science is developing many new and useful products at an ever increasing rate that will make our lives easier. New technology is being developed at an exponentially faster rate. These technologies are decreasing the amount of work we all have to do and making our lives easier.

I decided the best way I can start making a difference quickly is to become a certified personal trainer. I have lots of experience in that and it’s something I will enjoy. I will concentrate on people 65 and older because the need there is growing quickly. I will also continue working to be an example of brain health for Becky and Dr. Romero in Regain the Brain and The Plenary Mind Institute.

I have recently completed my training through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) and have received a certification from them as a certified personal trainer. I will start training people in some of the local gyms and build a group for certain group exercises and special care. I have a passion for working with the aging population, teaching them they are not stuck with the life they have now. I want to help them live their best life.

If we continue to live longer and growing more unhealthy at the same time, while life gets easier, what will our lives be like when we reach 100 years of age and older? Will it be worth living? I keep getting this image of Jabba The Hut! It does not have to be that way!!!

How Can We Live a Long Healthy Life?

Our life span is increasing quickly, our technology is developing exciting new medicines and treatments, but our health is worse than it’s ever been and getting worse quickly. What is wrong and how can we fix it?

There is a huge problem facing people in the United States and it is getting worse quickly! I am now determined to spend the remainder of my life doing whatever I can to help solve this problem. I’m hopeful after reading this some of you will join me in this endeavor. Following is what happened that brought me to this decision.

Fifteen years ago I woke up one morning and could not get out of bed. I kept trying and eventually rolled over and fell out of bed onto the floor. When my wife, Becky Sharon, found me lying on the floor trying to move she wanted to call an ambulance but I convinced her not to. I told her I would be fine soon. I was just having a dizzy spell and lost my balance. When I finally realized I could not stand up or “shake if off”, I agreed to let her and my son take me to a local hospital.

The first doctor I saw at the emergency room told me to take an aspirin per day and was ready to send me home. Lucky for me Becky was with me because she insisted on a second opinion; all I wanted to do was get out of there and go home. Unfortunately, the next doctor we saw was not that great either, however, he did tell me I was suffering from a stroke. I spent the day there getting tests. The second doctor could not find the cause of my stroke and even after a third opinion still no cause was discovered. 

Becky was determined to find a doctor that would find the cause of my stroke.  Luckily, a family friend gave us a referral to a great doctor who found the cause of the stroke.  It was caused by a perfect storm; a long airplane flight, a hole in my heart that did not close at adulthood as it should have and a blood clot that developed on the plane because of a genetic protein in my blood that made it clot too easily. The third doctor said we had to find out what caused the stroke ASAP or I could have another stroke with much worse results. He had some tests done and I was put on a blood thinner that night. Thank God I had Becky with me or who knows what would have happened.

I completed a few months of physical therapy and learned how to get around better but I could not walk without holding onto something. The hospital sent a walker home with me, but I refused to use it. I wanted it out of the house. My doctors told me it was very likely I would never walk again without assistance, most likely a wheelchair or maybe crutches. I refused to accept that. I did not want to live like that for the remainder of my life so I worked and pushed myself really hard. I eventually learned to walk again and even progressed to the point where I could run. Physically, I recovered 100% in less than a year. However, I did not know it at the time but my brain function did not fully recover. Part of my brain died from the stroke and other events in my life. It was also determined that I had two smaller strokes earlier in my life I knew nothing about.

Several months after my stroke I had a meeting scheduled in Miami with The Coca-Cola Company and Burger King to work out the details of a very large project I had been working on before the stroke. I went back to work about three weeks after my stroke, which in retrospect was way too early.  I had to go to the meeting because it was my project and it was a huge deal for my company.  I assured everyone I could do it.  I flew to Miami early the morning of the meeting. When I got off the plane in Miami I could not remember where I was or why I was there. Later I asked someone and they told me I was in the Miami airport.

I remained in the airport several hours trying to figure out why I was there. I eventually found something in my briefcase with Becky’s name and number on it so I called her. She told me why I was there and then it all came back to me. I immediately called someone at Burger King and was told the meeting was over but everyone was going to meet later in a hotel for dinner and they wanted me there. The hotel was one I stayed in many times before, but I could not figure out where the hotel was or how to get there. With some help from a friend at Burger King I eventually found the hotel and made the meeting.

My brain was healing but I had no idea of the extent of damage to it until I was in the middle of a situation and became confused. Often I would not remember where I was, what I was doing or where I needed to be. Many times I would have a conversation with a customer and not remember the conversation or what I was supposed to do the next day. I was not used to taking notes because before the stroke I had a great memory and never forgot anything. At times I would have problems finding my way to familiar places such as my office. Some of my memory problems improved but my sense of direction did not. It got to the point where I could not find the local grocery store we shopped in for years, just one mile from home, without GPS. I was very angry and frustrated most of the time. It seemed every time I drove somewhere I got lost.  Becky and my family knew something was wrong but I would not admit it to myself, or them, and I hid it well from everyone.

A couple years after the stroke we moved to Naples and I got to know several highly recommended doctors there because I had to visit one every month to have my blood checked so I would not have another stroke. I eventually met Dr. Jacqueline Romero. She has been by far the best doctor I have ever had the privilege of knowing. During one of my first visits I was giving her some advice on marketing and she made the following statement I will never forget. “Scott, you are a very intelligent guy but something is wrong with you”. I was shocked but started asking her questions. I did not want to admit I still had problems with my brain.

My wife, Becky and Dr. Romero studied brain health, functional medicine, nutrition and several other forms of brain science which I found very interesting. Luckily I was fortunate enough to learn by also being a patient. They studied together and separately. They became certified in Dr. Daniel Amen’s brain health coaching course that focuses on brain functions and brain scanning and repairing. This certification led to all three of us going to one of Dr. Amen’s clinics in Atlanta where we all had our brains scanned.

My scan showed the part of my brain that was damaged from the stroke(s) and from several other events in my past. I had consumed many bad foods and drinks with lots of sugar and artificial sweeteners. I started boxing when I was ten and did a lot of it, all without protective headgear. I was knocked out the first time when I was twelve years old. I had several concussions from playing football in school. I had two serious falls while running and hit my head very hard. I also had damage from Agent Orange and PTSD from Vietnam. Also, I hate to admit it but I smoked at a very young age but quit at about age 15. Smoking causes stress on the brain and uses up reserve brain cells.  I did not understand that I had been depleting my brain cell reserves.  Stress on our brain compounds and at some point, someday, it starts depleting reserves instead of building them to deal with stress.  It does not matter if it is self-imposed or not.

When I saw the scan of my brain at Dr. Amen’s clinic I was shocked and extremely upset. So much of it was damaged or simply missing! However, Becky said I got the largest smile on my face she had ever seen when they told me my brain could be grown back with certain treatments and nutrients. To me that was a lifesaver!   

The protocol Dr. Amen’s team gave me was to have 40 one hour sessions in a hyperbaric chamber and 20 sessions of neurofeedback. The hyperbaric chamber promotes the growth of new capillaries (small blood vessels) so the neurons in my brain could grow back. Neurofeedback will unstick neurons in the brain so it will function properly again.

The hyperbaric chamber treatments were very expensive in Naples so in June of 2017 I went to Cincinnati where the sessions were much less expensive. I lived most of my life in the Cincinnati area and I knew how to get everywhere there. When I arrived I could not find my son’s or daughter’s house without using GPS, even though I had been to both many times.

I took two sessions per day or ten per week for two weeks. Nothing happened the first week but I wasn’t worried because I expected it to be a very gradual process. After my 15th session I had a very dramatic experience. I felt as if I just woke up from a 15 year nap. A flood of memories rushed back, even memories from as far back as my Vietnam experience and my childhood. It was so emotional I just sat there and cried with happiness for a few minutes. When that session was over I ran out to my car and drove around the remainder of the day to many of my favorite places and all the places I had lived. I had no trouble at all finding my way around without GPS.

I completed the remainder of those sessions in Cincinnati and came home. Becky and Dr. Romero purchased a hyperbaric chamber for use in their practice and I did the remaining 20 sessions in it. I continued to get better. My memory did restore, and I now know where to turn into the grocery store.  I also did more Neurofeedback in their Brain Health practice.   

I may be biased but I believe Dr. Romero and Becky are brilliant. Dr. Romero is a great functional medicine doctor who sincerely cares about all her patients and is always searching and teaching me what I need to do to live my optimal life. I am amazed at all the things Becky has done and the people she has helped.  She received a Master’s degree in mental health counseling and will soon have her Doctorate. She is now a trained Hypnotherapist and does RTT (Rapid Transformational Therapy). She’s a certified functional medicine health coach, trained neurofeedback clinician, completed Dr. Amen’s course on his work and has studied with Dr. Romero on Functional Medicine. Her passion and ability to help so many people is so gratifying it has made me want to make a difference in people’s lives also.

One of my daughters has been traveling around the world for a year with a program called Remote year. She is traveling with a group of 33 other people, spending a month each in 12 different countries. One of her stops was in Vietnam and she asked me to join her there for 10 days. She asked me to visit the country and speak to her group about the differences between Vietnam today and what it was like when I was there in the war in 1968.

Vietnam was the last place in this world I wanted to be. When I was there in 1968 during the war it was horrible and I never wanted to go back. I did not want to hurt my daughter’s feelings so I came up with several excuses why I could not go. She resolved every issue I came up with so I finally agreed to go. I never even wanted to talk about my Vietnam experiences, let alone be there! However, A few years before, I wrote a book about some of the unusual things I did in my life and I included several of my Vietnam experiences in it. Writing about some of my Vietnam experiences made me feel better about talking about it so I thought being there may make me feel even better.

I flew into Hanoi in February of this year (2019). I was a little nervous but the trip was very easy. The country was not anything like what I was expecting. The people were all happy, courteous and friendly. The food was great and I had some of the best coffee I’ve had in my life. I did something with my daughter and her group every day. We traveled around the country most of the ten days I was there. I gave a ninety-minute presentation (telling my story) to her group.

The things I saw in Vietnam made me realize how much trouble we are in here in the US. The things I mention may not accurately describe the whole country but it’s what I observed. I did not see any overweight people, old people or handicapped people. Everyone appeared happy, healthy and in good shape. In the cities people mostly rode motor bikes or bicycles and in the countryside, they walk. I spoke to the grandson of a lady I thought was in her 50”s, or maybe her 60’s. She was in a tree picking fruit and he told me she was in her 90’s.  

All photos are © Barbara Cameron Pix

All the food I saw was freshly caught or slaughtered meat and fresh fruit and vegetables.  The people pick up their fresh food from a market daily. I saw very little refrigeration. I did not see any grocery stores or convenient stores where they sold processed food as we do here. At first I did not want to eat any of the food because in the cities much of it was cooked on the sidewalk, plus, I remembered how bad it was 51 years before. When I tried it I loved it. We even took cooking lessons on how to prepare some of the most popular dishes.

You will see by the following photographs the food did not look appetizing but it was great! The 10 days I was there I ate about 5 meals per day because I loved the food so much. However, I lost 5 pounds.

When I returned home at the Ft. Myers airport I looked around and what I saw made me very sad. I saw many old people in very bad shape. There were wheelchairs, crutches and canes everywhere. Many of the people were overweight, some were hugely overweight. Many had large stomachs and were hunched over. I could tell that many had brains that did not work properly. I kept thinking “What have we done to ourselves in this country?” That’s when I decided I wanted to do my part to solve this problem and help as many people as I could.

I also have to admit I have been a large contributor to this problem in the past 35 to 40 years. In my career I have helped many companies sell more of their unhealthy food and drinks. However, we can’t blame all these companies because they simply produce and sell what we as customers demand. For example, many years ago Taco Bell switched to a healthy menu and it really hurt them because it did not sell. They had to return to their popular but unhealthy food. Several other chains have tried the same thing with mostly the same results. All these chains can and will provide much healthier and good tasting food if we demand it. Even fried chicken can be healthier by simply using healthier fats.

Following are several major problems that should be resolved quickly:

Food Supply: The fresh food we grow today is not nearly as healthy as it used to be. A great example is corn. It has been so genetically modified it is not close to what it used to be. What makes it worse is corn and its byproducts are used in a huge amount of our processed foods. It was healthy at one time but is no longer. As an example, about 50-60 years ago when I was a child on the farm we grew corn to feed our pigs, dairy and beef cattle. We also grew some in our garden for the family. Back then our yield per acre of corn was from 30 to 50 bushels. Today the average yield per acre is 170 bushels. Experts say 28 nutrients are taken from the soil when corn is grown. When farmers fertilize the soil they use over and over again to grow the corn, they only add back three of the ingredients that make it grow faster and larger. When the other 25 nutrients are depleted many of the healthy nutrients in the corn are missing. This is only one of many examples.

The Food Supply Industry: Most of the processed food we find in a grocery or convenient store is unhealthy. I just read something today that stated cereal is mostly sugar and that’s what many parents feed their children. No wonder so many children are obese! Another problem is many foods, such as fruits, are picked before they ripen so they will last longer on the shelves. If they don’t ripen on the tree or vine before they are picked many of the healthy nutrients our bodies need will be missing.

Food labeling is such a mess it has become a huge joke! Most people have no idea what’s in the food they buy, even if they bother to read the labels. Although there is government control we have to understand the rules for what’s put on the labels in order to fully understand them. Many of the terms are simply marketing terms and very confusing.

Sugar: Sugar is a huge contributor to our poor health and it is put in an incredible number of processed foods, in one form or another. It’s even in such foods as French Fries. To combat the weight gain problem sugar substitutes were developed. However recent studies have found these sugar substitutes to be harmful to our bodies.

Fat: Our government and many other organizations have told us for years that fat is bad so we have gone through a long fat free or low fat diet craze. However, recent research has found many fats to be very healthy and needed by our bodies, especially from grass fed meat. Recently I have been hearing from some diet organizations such as the Keto diet that eating more fat may actually aid in loosing body fat.

Exercise: Today many adults and children do not get enough exercise. Many seem to be spending more time watching TV, playing games and reading messages on their cell phones or sitting behind a desk all day. We all need a minimum amount of exercise in order for our bodies to perform the way they should and stay healthy.

Alcohol Consumption: Drinking alcoholic beverages has become the primary way we socialize. Today most social events and meals include some form of alcohol. Research has found alcohol to be harmful, especially to the brain.

Drugs: “Big Pharma” has become a huge health problem in the United States. Even though they are developing more and more super drugs that are helpful to treat illnesses, many of these drugs are causing other serious health problems. Today the major motivation for developing a drug is much more for profit than for what it will do to help cure illnesses. Also, there is a growing financial pressure on doctors, if they want to earn an income, to stop the symptoms with drugs rather than cure the problem.

Just so this article is not all negative following are some good things to talk about:

Longevity: Because of developing science we are now adding 3 months to our average life span every year. By the year 2030 that number is predicted to go up to adding one year every year.     

Treatments: Science has been developing new effective treatments for many illnesses and finding cures for many. This is predicted to continue at a faster rate.

Science: Science is developing many new and useful products at an ever increasing rate that will make our lives easier. New technology is being developed at an exponentially faster rate. These technologies are decreasing the amount of work we all have to do and making our lives easier.

I decided the best way I can start making a difference quickly is to become a certified personal trainer. I have lots of experience in that and it’s something I will enjoy. I will concentrate on people 65 and older because the need there is growing quickly. I will also continue working to be an example of brain health for Becky and Dr. Romero in Regain the Brain and The Plenary Mind Institute.

I am halfway through my NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) training and will soon be a certified personal trainer. I will start training people in some of the local gyms and build a group for certain group exercises and special care. I have a passion for working with the aging population, teaching them they are not stuck with the life they have now. I want to help them live their best life.

If we continue to live longer and growing more unhealthy at the same time, while life gets easier, what will our lives be like when we reach 100 years of age and older? Will it be worth living? I keep getting this image of Jabba The Hud! It does not have to be that way!!!

Be Careful What You Sign!

I want to warn everyone to be careful what you sign and don’t make the same stupid mistake I did.

 I was having trouble with my back a few months ago so I went to an assisted stretching site here in Naples. It was owned by a company called Stretch Zone, Inc. They advertised a free session so I decided to try them. After I completed the free session the trainer asked me to join. He said it would cost me $320 per month for 8 sessions per month for their standard 3-month package. I told him I did not want to sign up for more than a month. He said he would let me sign up for one month or 8 sessions for $320 total so I agreed.

I gave him my credit card for payment. He asked me to sign the contract and it was on a small handheld device which I had to sign with my finger. He confirmed with me again that it would be only $320 total. I did not have my glasses and I could not read it on the small device. I know it was stupid of me but I signed it with my finger because he said he was emailing a copy to me right then. I planned to read it when I got home and I knew in Florida you have up to 3 days to cancel.

I did not receive a copy of the contract for at least 2 weeks after I signed it. A couple of weeks later I received a second $320 charge on my card. I called the trainer I signed up with and he told me he would have the manager give me a credit for the second $320 charge. While I was waiting for the credit I received a third $320 charge on my card. I refused the payment with Visa and cancelled my card but Visa paid it because I signed the contract.

After my first free session I scheduled a second session on Sunday. When I got there a few minutes early they were not open. Another person who was scheduled for a session following mine showed up and they still were not open. We both left. I did receive an apology and a credit for that session. I did the session a couple days later and it only lasted about half the time it was supposed to last. I did a third session with another trainer and it was the only one of the three that was worth paying anything for.

So, I have 22 remaining sessions, which I will not use and the manager said he was not allowed to give me any amount of a credit. I looked on the Internet for reviews on Stretch Zone and found one where the same thing happened to someone else. Please be careful if you use these guys for anything! You can’t trust them!

Our life span is increasing quickly. Let’s make those years healthier and happier.

Several recent important events have convinced me to change what I’ve been doing for the past 30 years. I’ve discovered a huge problem facing people in the United States and most of the world and I want to spend the remainder of my time doing what I can to solve that problem. I’m hoping many of you reading this will join me in this endeavor. I’m not trying to sell you anything but simply explain the problems you are very likely already aware of. I couldn’t reduce “My Story” to a simple “Elevator Speech” so I decided to tell it in this article and keep it as short as I can.

About fifteen years ago I woke up one morning and could not get out of bed. I kept trying and eventually was able to roll over and fall out of bed onto the floor. When my wife, Becky Sharon, found me lying on the floor trying to move she was worried and wanted to call an ambulance but I convinced her not to. I kept telling her I would be fine soon. I was just having a dizzy spell and lost my balance. When I realized I could not “shake if off” I agreed to let her and my son take me to a hospital in Northern Kentucky near where we lived.

Even though I could not walk the first doctor I saw told me to go home and take one aspirin per day. Lucky for me Becky was with me because she insisted on another doctor looking at me; all I wanted to do was get out of there and go home. Unfortunately, the next doctor I saw was not that great but he did tell me I was suffering from a stroke. I spent the day there in intensive care getting tests.

Becky called the owner of my parent company and he suggested she get me out of that hospital and into the University Hospital in Cincinnati. I was transferred that evening and he set me up with one of the top doctors in the country. That doctor told me we had to find out what caused the stroke ASAP or I could have another with much worse consequences. He had some tests done and I was put on a blood thinner that night. Thank God I had Becky with me or who knows what would have happened.

Soon after that I started taking physical therapy and learned how to get around better, but I could not walk without holding onto something, for me it was mostly the walls. Becky got me home one of those rolling canes with two wheels on the front but I refused to use it. I wanted it out of the house. My doctors told me it was very likely I would never walk again without some type of assistance such as a wheelchair, cane or crutches. I refused to accept that. I did not want to live like that for the remainder of my life so I worked and pushed myself really hard. I eventually learned to walk again and even progressed to the point where I could run. Physically, I recovered 100% in less than a year. However, I did not know it at the time but I did not fully recover mentally because I had a large section of my brain missing from the stroke and several other events in my life.

As an example of my mental condition, several months after my stroke I had a meeting scheduled in Miami with The Coca-Cola Company and Burger King to work out the details of a very large project I had been working on before the stroke. I had to go to the meeting because no one else at my company (LSI Images) knew enough about it to attend. I assured everyone I could do it so I flew to Miami early the morning of the meeting. When I got off the plane I did not know where I was or why I was there. I asked someone and they told me I was in the Miami airport.

I remained in the airport several hours trying to figure out why I was there. I eventually found something in my briefcase with Becky’s name and number on it so I called her. She told me why I went there and then it all came back to me. I immediately called someone at Burger King and was told the meeting was over but everyone was going to meet later in a hotel for dinner and they wanted me there. The hotel was the same one I had stayed in many times but I had a huge problem finding it.  

Not long after that we moved to Naples, Florida. Some of my mental problems improved but my sense of direction and a few other things kept getting worse. It got to the point where I could not find the local grocery store we shopped in for a couple years, just one mile from home, without using GPS. I was angry and frustrated much of the time. It seemed every time I drove somewhere I got lost.  Becky and my family knew something was wrong but I would not admit it to myself or them.

I got to know many doctors when we moved to Naples because I had to visit one every month to have my blood checked. I was frustrated with all of them because they could not help me, so I changed doctors often. It seemed all they wanted to do was give me prescriptions that did not help. Then one day I met my current doctor, Dr. Jacqueline Romero. She was by far the best doctor I found in Naples and I had experienced many. During one of my first visits I was giving her some advice on marketing and she made the following statement that I will never forget. “Scott, you are a very intelligent guy but something is wrong with you”. I was shocked but started asking questions. I did not want to admit I had problems with my brain.

Becky and Dr. Romero were studying brain health, functional medicine, nutrition and several other forms of brain science which I also found very interesting and was learning from. Among several other things they took Dr. Daniel Amen’s course on brain functions and brain scanning. In April of 2017 all three of us went to one of Dr. Amen’s clinics in Atlanta and had our brains scanned.

My scan showed the part of my brain that was damaged from the stroke and from several other events in my past. I had consumed many bad foods and drinks with lots of sugar and artificial sweeteners. I also had a large amount of physical damage. I started boxing when I was ten and did a lot of it, all without protective headgear. I was knocked out the first time when I was twelve years old. I had several concussions from playing football in school. I had two serious falls while running and hit my head very hard. I also had damage from Agent Orange and PTSD from Vietnam.

When I saw the scan of my brain at Dr. Amen’s clinic I was shocked and became extremely upset. So much of it was damaged or missing! However, Becky said I got the largest smile on my face she had ever seen when they told me my brain could be grown back with certain treatments and nutrients. To me that was a lifesaver!   

The protocol Dr. Amen’s team gave me was to have 40 one hour sessions in a hyperbaric chamber and 20 sessions of neurofeedback. The hyperbaric chamber promotes the growth of new capillaries (small blood vessels) so the neurons in my brain could grow back. The Neurofeedback rewires the brain so it will function properly again.

The hyperbaric chamber treatments were very expensive in Naples so in June of 2017 I went to Cincinnati where the sessions were much less expensive. I lived most of my life in the Cincinnati area and I knew how to get everywhere there. When I arrived I could not find my son’s or daughter’s house without using GPS, even though I had been to both many times.

I took two sessions per day or ten per week for two weeks. Nothing happened the first week but I wasn’t worried because I expected it to be a very gradual process. After my 15th session I had a very dramatic experience. I felt as if I just woke up from a 15 year nap. A flood of memories rushed back, even memories from as far back as my Vietnam experience and my childhood. It was so emotional I just sat there and cried with happiness for several minutes. When that session was over I ran out to my car and drove around the remainder of the day to many of my favorite places and all the places I had lived. I had no trouble at all finding my way around.

I completed the remainder of those sessions in Cincinnati and came home. Becky and Dr. Romero purchased a hyperbaric chamber for use in their practice and I did the remaining 20 sessions in it. They also added neurofeedback to their practice so I completed that with them. I still get in the hyperbaric chamber for a few sessions occasionally just to keep a reserve supply of neurons. Becky also gives me neurofeedback sessions occasionally mainly because it helps clear up my vision when it gets a little fuzzy.

I have learned that Dr. Romero and Becky are brilliant. Dr. Romero sincerely cares about all her patients and does everything she can for them. I am amazed at all the things Becky has done and the people she has helped.  She received a Master’s degree in mental health counseling and will soon have her Doctorate. She is now a trained Hypnotherapist and does RTT (Rapid Transformational Therapy). She’s a certified health coach, nutritionist, trained on how to do neurofeedback, completed Dr. Amen’s course on his work and has trained with Dr. Romero on Functional Medicine. She has helped so many people and that is so gratifying it has made me want to do the same thing.

One of my daughters has been traveling around the world for a year in what is called Remote year. She is with a group of 33 other people and they spend a month working in each of 12 different countries. One of her stops was in Vietnam and she asked me to join her there for 10 days. She wanted me to visit the country and speak to her group about the differences between Vietnam today and what it was like when I was there in the war in 1968.

Vietnam was the last place in this world I wanted to be. When I was there in 1968 during the war it was horrible. I lost many close friends there and I never wanted to go back. I did not want to hurt my daughter’s feelings so I came up with several excuses why I could not go. She solved every issue I came up with so I finally agreed to go. I never even wanted to talk about my Vietnam experiences let alone be there. However, I recently wrote a book (Great Adventures From My Life) about some of the unusual things I did in my life and I put several Vietnam experiences in it. Writing that book made me feel better about talking about my Vietnam experience so I though being there may make me feel a lot better.  

I flew into Hanoi in February of this year (2019). I was a little nervous but the trip was very easy. The country was not anything like what I was expecting. The people were all happy, courteous and friendly. The food was great and I had some of the best coffee I’ve had in my life. I did something with my daughter and her group every day. We traveled around the country most of the ten days I was there. I gave a ninety minute presentation (told my story) to her group and they loved it. Several wanted to talk about it more after the presentation.

Following are the things I saw in Vietnam that made me realize how much trouble we are in here in the US. These may not be facts that accurately describe the whole country but it’s what I observed. In all my travels I did not see any overweight people. They all seemed to be happy, healthy and in good shape. I did not see wheelchairs or crutches and I rarely saw an elderly person. In the cities the people were mostly on motor bikes or bicycles. In the countryside they were mostly working. I was actually asking myself “What do they do with their old people?” However, I was speaking to the grandson of a lady I thought was in her 50”s or maybe her 60’s. She was in a tree picking fruit and he told me she was in her 90’s.  I was shocked.

Another thing I noticed was all their food was fresh. It was either fresh caught or freshly slaughtered meat and fresh fruit and vegetables.  The people would pick up their food from a market daily. I saw very little refrigeration. I did not see any grocery stores or convenient stores where they sold processed food. At first I did not want to eat any of the food because much of it was cooked on the sidewalk in the cities but when I tried it I loved it. We even took some cooking lessons on how to prepare some of the most popular dishes.

When I returned home and arrived at the Ft. Myers airport I looked around and what I saw made me very sad. I saw many old people in very bad shape. There were wheelchairs, crutches and canes everywhere. Many of the people were overweight, some were hugely overweight. Many had large stomachs and were hunched over. Also, I could tell that many had brains that did not work properly. I kept thinking “What have we done to ourselves in this country?” That’s when I decided I want to do my part to solve this problem and help as many people as I can.

I realized that during the past 35 or 40 years I have been a large contributor to this problem. I have helped many companies sell more of their unhealthy food and drinks. However, I don’t blame all these companies because they have to produce and sell what their customers want. As an example many years ago Taco Bell came out with a healthy menu and it did not sell. They had to return to their popular but unhealthy food and eventually their sales came back. Several other large chains have tried the same thing with mostly the same results. All these chains can provide much healthier and good tasting food if their customers demand it. Even fried chicken can be much healthier than it is by simply using healthier fats to fry it in.

Following are some of the major problems that have to be resolved quickly:

Food Supply: The fresh food we grow today is not nearly as healthy as it was. As an example, corn has been so genetically modified it is not close to what it used to be and it is used in a huge number of our processed foods. It was healthy at one time but no longer. The primary reason is; about 50-60 years ago when I was a child on the farm we grew corn to feed our pigs, dairy and beef cattle. We also grew some in our garden for the family. Back then our yield per acre of corn was from 30 to 50 bushels. Today the average yield per acre is 170 bushels. Experts say that 28 nutrients are taken from the soil when corn is grown. When farmers fertilize the soil they use over and over again they only add back three of the ingredients that make it grow faster and larger. When the other 25 nutrients are depleted many of the healthy nutrients in the corn are missing. This is only one of many examples.

The Food Supply Industry: Most of the processed food you find in a grocery or convenient store is very unhealthy. As an example I just read something today that said the most popular cereals are mostly sugar and that’s what parents feed their children. No wonder so many now are obese!

Food labeling is such a mess it is a huge joke! Most people have no idea what’s in the food they buy, even if they read the label. Although there is some government control you have to understand the rules for what’s put on the labels. Many of the terms are simply marketing terms. Someone told me a few days ago if you print on the package that a food is healthy or has the good effect of some medicines it will be considered a drug by the government and falls under the drug labeling and distribution rules.

Sugar: Sugar is one of the largest contributors to our poor health and it is put in an incredible number of processed foods in one form or another. It’s even in such foods as French fries. To combat this, sugar substitutes were developed. However recent studies have found these sugar substitutes to be unhealthier than real sugar.

Fat: Our government and many other organizations have told us for years that fat is bad so we have gone through a long fat free or low fat diet craze. However, recent research has found most fats to be very healthy and needed by our bodies, especially from grass fed meat. Eating more healthy fat can actually aid in loosing body fat.

Exercise: Many adults and children no longer get enough exercise. They are spending more time watching TV, playing games and reading messages on their cell phones or sitting behind a desk all day. We need a certain amount of exercise to stay healthy.

Alcohol Consumption: Drinking alcoholic beverages has become the major way we socialize and consumption is growing. Today most social events and meals have to include some form of alcohol. Research has found alcohol to be very harmful, especially to the brain.

Drugs: “Big Pharma” has become a huge health problem in the United States. Even though they are developing more and more super drugs that are helpful in treating illnesses they are causing some serious health problems. Today the major motivation for developing a drug is much more about profit than for what it will do to help cure illnesses. Also, we are now facing a huge problem with our health system. Issuing prescriptions has become the major way doctors have generate income. They can’t afford to spend enough time with their patients to find out what they really need.

Since I don’t want this article to be all negative I want to list some of the good things that are going on:

Longevity: Because of developing science we are now adding 3 months to our average life span each year. By the year 2030 that number is predicted to go up to adding a year every year.     

Treatments: Science has been developing new effective treatments for many illnesses and finding cures for many. This will continue at a faster rate.

Science: Science is developing many new and useful products at an ever increasing rate that will make our lives easier. New technology is being developed at an exponentially faster rate. These technologies are decreasing the amount of work we all have to do and making our lives better.

I had to decide what I could do for the remainder of my life to help people solve these problems. I have decided the best way I can do that quickly is to become a certified personal trainer. I want to do that and some other things but concentrate on people 65 and older. I will also help Becky and Dr. Romero with their brain health practice, Regain the Brain and The Plenary Mind Institute.

I am now halfway through my NASM (National Association of Sports Medicine) training and will soon be certified by them. After that I will start training people in some of the local gyms and build a group for certain group exercises and special care events.

Recent Changes in the Digital Menu Board Industry

Seven years ago I wrote a blog titled “Will the Digital Menuboard VARs Disappear? I wrote a volume 2 with the same title in 2018. I asked that question and wrote the blogs because seven years ago one of the LCD display companies had been selling digital menu boards (DMB’s) directly to the end users, while telling their resellers (VARs) they would not do that. On a couple large projects they set up “dummy resellers” to cover it up. They did not want the VARs to know this because almost all their sales went through resellers and they could not afford to upset them.

I respected this LCD company’s sales ability because they were selling more than any other company at that time. However, as it turned out, they really didn’t have much effect on how the DMB’s went to market because they screwed up most of the projects they sold and eventually lost them. I can provide a list of several major QSR chains where this happened. Their primary problem was they only had a sales and marketing team. They did not have the knowledgeable people required to manage the projects and keep up with the day to day issues. Issues such as; “what happens when a new restaurant opens?” or “what happens when the designed DMB won’t fit in a restaurant?” These types off issues are common in a roll-out.

We’ve have all seen the same thing happen in other industries where middlemen are cut out to eliminate markups. A classic example of this working well is Sam Walton and Walmart. There are situations where a middleman is not adding enough value and should be eliminated, however, you have to make sure the needed functions are not eliminated with them. Many times these functions are added back to the process by adding employees at the end user or supplier at a higher cost than what they thought they would save.

We may be seeing this happen with two recent huge projects at McDonald’s and Burger King where they went direct to Samsung . Although I hear they are having lots of problems with the big DMB roll-out at McDonald’s I don’t know the facts so I won’t comment on that project. I am much more familiar with the Burger King/RBI project because I worked on it for more than two years. Also, the company I started, LSI Images, has been their old style menu board supplier for about 15 years.

The short story is, I (START) had been working on the Burger King project for over two years and we were going to be awarded the project until they decided to go to their parent company (RBI) to finance the project. RBI then met with Samsung and decided to go direct with Samsung on the project. It’s ironic because they did what I was teaching Burger king so you could say I eliminated myself.

I think with these two large chains doing this it will change the industry regardless of how many problems they have and how much it costs them. All the major chains will follow suit and all that will be left for the VARs will be the small chains. If you are a VAR you may be wasting your time working on the large projects. In today’s business world you can never be sure you won’t be eliminated by a new technology or process.

Do You Know What’s Best For Your Customers?

I’ve had a long and enjoyable career as a marketer, engineer and product developer in the graphics, sign, display and menu board industry. During my career one of the things I’ve enjoyed most, and been best at, is developing new products or systems that solve my customer’s problems, cuts cost and/or increases sales. This has allowed me to develop many new products and several are significant in my industry and are still being used.

I have never enjoyed going to a customer with a product already developed and trying to show them why they need it. That was too much like being a salesman pushing a product and less like the useful problem solver I wanted to be. I’ve always believed it was best to meet with the customer to learn their problems and see the actual situation for myself. That made it much easier to provide them with the best product for solving the problem. If the product did not exist I would do my best to develop it. I can give you many examples of that.

As a result of the many years of work I have put into the development of digital menu boards, displays and new technology communication tools I now consider myself an expert in that field. As a result I started relying too much on telling my customers what they needed because I knew they didn’t know. I recently learned the best product is not always the best for their situation.

Recently someone came to me and told me they were opening a new concept restaurant/game-room type of establishment and were planning on opening several more. They said they wanted digital menu boards and displays but knew very little about them. After gathering information on what they would display on them I visited the site and determined they needed three 48″ and one 55″ display mounted on two different walls with simple copy, mostly menu items.

I met the operations manager at the site and he asked me many questions about digital menu boards and how to use them. I also spoke to the owner on the phone and he had several questions. I would normally recommend a fully functional digital system with all the latest capabilities; something they could learn and grow into as they added more sites. However, after learning as much as I did about the company and their lack of knowledge and experience in that area I recommended something very simple. Also, they wanted to do everything themselves.

The system I recommended and sold them was something I would have laughed at years ago. It was what experts used to refer to as a “Sneaker-net” system. It was very simple and easy for them to use. They put their simple content on a USB drive and plugged it into the displays. They even used PowerPoint software to lay out the menu.

I have learned that when most customers first start using digital menu boards they tend to be very uneasy with them and think they are complicated and difficult to use. As they get more familiar with them and learn their capabilities they start doing more with them and begin to learn and use their full capabilities.

I am happy I sold my customer the simple system because they were very happy with it. It was easy for them to use and in the middle of trying to open a new concept site they had many other important issues to resolve. As they start using and getting more comfortable with it all they have to do is add media players and software to make it a full capability system. These new capabilities were planned for.