HEALTHY BITE | The Power of Connection and How Community, Collaboration and Creativity Matter

Connection and corporate capture are amongst our biggest health challenges but what can we do and how can we respond?

The Power of Connection and How Community, Collaboration, and Creativity Matter

Dr Ron Ehrlich: [00:00:05] Hello and welcome to another Healthy Bite. My name is Dr Ron Ehrlich. I want to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which I’m recording this podcast, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and pay my respects to their Elders – past, present, and emerging.

Now, this week I had the pleasure of speaking with Daniel Baden. And Daniel is, I think, somewhat of a legend and complimentary holistic health care in Australia. Daniel is a naturopath and a homoeopath. He’s been involved in the manufacturing of supplements for over 30 years. His company, which he recently sold BioMedica, is a high-quality supplement company that many health practitioners use. 

And the word supplement, of course, is self-explanatory. It is a supplement to what we should be eating. And if we were eating foods that were being grown in healthy soils that would deliver the 40 or 50 elements of the periodic table that we required to be healthy, meaning selenium, magnesium, zinc, boron, chromium, and calcium. You know, we need a whole range of elements. And if we grow our food in healthy soils, then the plants that we eat or the animals that we eat that have eaten those plants will deliver us a nutrient-dense diet. 

Sadly in Australia, we have significantly depleted soils, not just because we live on ancient land, but because of the farming practices of the last 200 years, which have utilized fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and you know, the use of, for example, fertilizer like superphosphate, which delivers nitrogen and phosphorus and phosphate to plant, will undoubtedly grow a plant that looks pretty good. Still, it doesn’t necessarily contain all of the elements that we need to be healthy. And that’s what a nutrient-dense diet is all about. And when things are depleted, then supplements are essential.

So Daniel’s been involved in that area, and it was great to talk with him and get his perspective on holistic, naturopathy or homeopathy, or a holistic approach to health care. We spoke about various issues, and it was a great conversation. We did have some technical issues in our first recording, and I often ask my guests at the end and I think it’s a fascinating question to ask them, particularly off the cuff, unprepared, and ask them what the greatest is, you know because we are all on a health journey together in this modern world. 

And whatever your profession is, and as a health practitioner, we are still on that health journey. So I often asked my guests to take a step back as an individual and tell me what they think the biggest challenge is for that individual on that journey. And I’m going to play you the recording that was that first Daniel’s first response to that because I thought it was a terrific and important one. And as you will hear, it’s something that I agree with because it’s what this podcast is all about. Isn’t that terrific? I think that was such an important message, and we can’t hear it often enough, you know, be proactive.

And it also got me thinking about what I believe the greatest health challenge is. I’m going to sneak that into this Healthy Bite because obviously when I ask people those questions, and honestly, we are currently writing a book on those responses, taking the best of they are done over 300 episodes in on the Unstress Podcast and some of the reactions have been quite extraordinary and have certainly warranted a book. 

And so there is a book coming of that. And I thought, what if I was asked that question? What would my response be? And I know I’ve arrived at this point and, you know, this has come off the cuff, so I haven’t given this a lot of thought, and that’s not entirely true. But I think the two things that come to my mind are the biggest challenge for us on that health journey is two things.

Connection to each other

One connection and to corporate capture. Now, what do I mean by that? Well, Daniel, this week’s episode dealt with relationship, but I’ve been fascinated by a connection and what lessons we have to learn from our First Nations, Indigenous, Aboriginal, and Torres Strait Islanders. I really want to explore these lessons from the past, and that is connection. We have always been connected with the planet. We’ve been inseparable from it. 

And so our connection to our food, our environment, and our connection to animals is an essential part of our life. And that is one aspect of what I mean by connection. But as Daniel pointed out, another aspect was the connection to each other. What has made us unique as a species, out of the millions of species that inhabit this world, is our ability to connect with each other, communicate, collaborate, think creatively, and share that knowledge.

And during this pandemic, we’ve been reminded of how important connection is. And yes, we can get very excited about the fact that online communication connects all over the world, and we don’t have to travel. But I think in that connection, there is an underlying well, there’s a lot that we’ve realized less than this personal connection. We can’t read body language, we can’t read each other’s expressions as well as we can when you’re in the room with someone. 

And so that connection is important. But when you connect online like this, you’re always worried about whether the signal is going to drop out, and that creates angst in itself. So there are so many shortcomings in this online connection. Which face-to-face connection just is so much better. And it’s interesting that the American society, psychology society has estimated the cost to our health of social isolation. 

And mental health has been a huge and growing problem up until the pandemic. You know, something like 20 to a fifth to a quarter. So 20 to 25% of people suffer from anxiety and depression and that number has gone up dramatically because of social isolation and the lack of connection. So connection on a personal level is also really important. 

Connecting with our environment

Connecting with our environment. That’s another thing that has been vitally important for millions and millions, if not billions of years. The sun has played an incredibly important part and we have literally placed our feet on the ground and being connected with the earth. Now that connection with our solar, with the energy that comes from the solar cycle and affects the circadian rhythm, affecting our whole biochemical and electromagnetic experience in life has been a huge factor in our journey through life. 

It’s a really important part of every living being on this planet. And yet one of them, I think most terrible public health moves has been the demonization of sunlight and our exposing our souls and surrounding ourselves with electromagnetic radiation and not connecting with the earth itself. So there’s another connection that I think we need to be aware of. Connecting with our past, learning from our past, learning from history, and building on that is another aspect. 

Another aspect that I mentioned is corporate capture. And boy, you know, these this idea of governments by the people and for the people I think has long passed. I mean, these are governments by corporations, for corporations, and the influence that corporate capture has had on policy is huge. You know, once upon a time, 20 or 30 years ago, we all owned everything. 

We were all shareholders in Telstra. We were all shareholders in the Commonwealth Bank, in the Westpac Bank. We were all shareholders in the water supply, and the electricity supply, we were shareholders in everything. And then in 19 and the end of the 1970s, with the emergence of neoliberalism, a market-driven economy, and the privatization of those public utilities, to make them more efficient resulted in the privatization of everything and the emergence of the shareholder. Shareholder supremacy trumps almost everything else and I use that term advisedly.

Yes. Shareholder Supremacy and corporate capture have influenced everything that goes on in our world today from health care, food production, environment. We now have access to credit. Okay. We’re going through a rise in interest rates, which are now up to three, four, five, or 6%. But I remember a time when interest rates were 17 or 18% and I remember a time when it was extremely difficult to get a loan. 

So now I carry around more money in my pocket from credit cards availability and loan facilities that give me the ability to go and buy shares in companies that I once used to own. How amazing is that? Talk about economic rationalism. I think that’s an example of economic irrationalism, but it’s a system that we’ve all bought into. And I believe that a neo-liberal is let market-driven economy will prove to be the greatest environmental, social, health, and personal challenge to us all. 

So it got me thinking about that question that I ask, what is the greatest challenge? Well, that’s why I think it’s about the connection on all those different levels. And it’s about the biggest challenge of all, which is corporate capture and shareholder supremacy driving change in our world. But this week’s episode with Daniel Baden was a wonderful discussion, and I really enjoyed it. I hope you did, too. I hope this finds you well. Until next time. This is Dr Ron Ehrlich. Be well.

This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. This content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.