The Barrel, The Ladder & The Wall

By: Dr Jerry Petermann, 2016

Curious title? Yes, but illustrative for our discussion.

Often an analogy serves best to make a point. We will explore three.

The Barrel
In the world of pickles and whisky, a wooden barrel is the ideal storage vessel. Some people even advertise how their liquor or beer is aged in oak barrels. Laudable, as they even claim to make their barrels for that very purpose.

Now, in the construction of a well-made wooden barrel, the pieces known as staves, must be crafted with perfection to make a liquid tight construction. Even these “perfect” staves must be held in place by some external force; metal bands, to maintain integrity. Should some other external force be placed on the barrel, in most cases these bands will resist catastrophic failure. However, should an external force be applied to a single stave, the entire barrel might collapse, as together all are strong but individually, they are not.

The human body’s complex systems are rather like a barrel of wooden staves held together with “bands” of proper diet, exercise, mental well-being, hydration, supplementation and rest.

Now, comes our modern times with every fad diet, exercise program, supplementation plan and MLM products, hydration by Power Drinks or Vitamin Brews and mental health gurus of every type selling you on meditation, yoga or hiking in the Himalayas to be in contact with the Ancient Masters.
Here’s the problem: our “staves” are pushed individually very hard by many of these products, plans and concepts. There is never a balance. And, like the wooden barrel, too much pressure on a single stave, our barrel can collapse!

Example: too much of one particular supplement “for your liver” can disrupt your uptake of calcium, another might be for a “blood cleansing” which is quietly wreaking havoc on your mental cognition and neuron function. Pushed too hard with one particular supplement, the body may malfunction (begin to collapse the barrel”) and you could end up in the hospital or even dead. About 20 years ago, an MLM was promoting a “Natural Weight Loss Program” by boosting a person’s metabolism. Great idea, except the company was using an old Chinese medicinal herb with natural ephedrine. Several people died…their “Metabolism Stave” collapsed completely. Too much of one thing without balance can be deadly.

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