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TMHS 411: The Human Virus & Why Quarantine Has Us More Unhealthy Than Ever
As a society, we are navigating a strange and uncharted time in human history. While local governments are enforcing shelter in place orders and placing restrictions on outdoor activities, many folks are finding their health declining as a result. Isolation can result in a change in lifestyle and nutritional habits for many people, not to mention the mental and domestic issues that can arise.
Today I want to continue the conversation around how collectively, we can proactively move the needle in a positive direction. You’re going to hear some fascinating data regarding the impact of this social and economic shutdown. We’re diving into new studies regarding the effects quarantine has on human diet, exercise, and overall well-being.
Being your best self is not only a culmination of your diet and exercise habits, but it’s also the way you think, act, and treat those around you. This episode contains tips regarding changing your mindset and biases, and the importance of staying active, positive, and kind amidst a crisis. As always, we’re diving into the studies, and I hope something in this episode resonates with you. Enjoy!
In this episode you'll discover:
- The unintended benefit that the lockdown has had on air quality.
- What percentage of the human body is comprised of viruses.
- How viruses allowed humans to evolve and procreate.
- Why it takes time for the truth to become widely accepted.
- How your brain works like a puzzle.
- What selective perception is.
- How confirmation bias works.
- Two ways to train your brain to become more open-minded.
- What the one true protective agent against illness is.
- The link between sleep deprivation and infection rates.
- What type of exercise can result in a short-term immune system boost.
- The role vitamin D plays in immune function.
- How getting fresh air can protect us from infections.
- The negative unintended consequences of self-quarantine on society.
Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!
Shawn Stevenson: Welcome to The Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert Shawn Stevenson and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. I'm really, really pumped about this episode. We've got a lot of incredible information to go through. And I hope that you're doing okay. I just want to check in with you and just ask how you doing. This has been an absolute crazy time in human history and it is one of those things that I really feel like we're going to look back on in future generations and just be like WTF for real, like this is absolutely bananas on so many different levels and the ramifications of what's happening right now are still just beginning, alright. It's going to be a long-term domino effect. And so today I'm really excited because we're going to talk about some of the stuff that's already emerging and also some of the things that we can do right now proactively as a community to help kind of turn some of these things around. And I think it's super critical for us as a world citizenship moving forward. Now with the rules of folks staying indoors, we've seen an absolute skyrocket in online shopping, alright?
The UPS guy, the FedEx guy, they're giving each other the side-eye as they normally do, but they're out making moves right now. And I haven't really shared this story in depth before, but before moving to Los Angeles, California, I was born and raised in St. Louis. I spent my entire life there, entire livelihood and I moved around a lot, alright. When I was a kid, we literally moved 10 times not because I was an army brat but because we weren't paying the rent, alright, we kept getting evicted. And so just seeing that kind of an environment and also I had the experience of my grandmother and my grandfather moving to quote "The country," leaving the big city because my grandfather was having some health challenges, and he just kind of wanted to go back to his roots and where he grew up. And so this was in the Bootheel of Missouri, and just kind of this very low-key town, dirt road, all that stuff. They, fortunately, had indoor plumbing, their best friends did it, Elmer and Nettie, alright. True story, those are my grandmother and grandfather's best friends Elmer and Nettie, and Elmer had a son named Delmer.
I'm not making this up. You can't make that up. Anyways, they had an outhouse, an outhouse, and it was a pretty traumatic experience for me using the outhouse after having indoor plumbing for so long. But anyways, those summers when I would go to my grandmother's house left a huge imprint in my psyche, little did I know. Somebody who's kind of growing up in the inner city and having all of those experiences in the inner city and then having myself implanted in this country environment, it definitely helped to kind of create the person that I am. And little did I know, this was manifesting programs in my mind, because I went from living in an inner-city community. When I met my wife, I was actually... I lived in Ferguson, Missouri while I was in college. And from there, we progressed to the good side of Ferguson quote, and I'm doing air quotes if you can see on our YouTube, to moving to a house in the woods. And if you see me walking down the street, you're not going to be like that guy definitely lives in the woods. You're not going to do that.
But it was imprinted in my experience. And we know that there's a science of nature versus nurture. And just also, we've talked about on recent episodes with Jim Kwik for example, and talking about the reticular activating system in the brain and just the experiences and the things that you hold top of mind, your brain, your psychology is going to be constantly scanning for things that are resonant to the things that you are thinking about or what your level of exposure is. So my level of exposure was living in a country home.
And so prior to moving here to Los Angeles, for four years, we lived out in the woods, it was like an acre of land, there was deer in my backyard daily, Bambi in them was out there getting it, alright. We had Bambi, we had the wild turkeys and the wild turkeys are the scariest things because they look like little dinosaurs. And they don't care, they just walk right "it's like my street." So in addition to all the wildlife, even my neighbors, they were quite a walk away, just to get to our mailbox or to the neighbors, and I was just quietly living there typing and writing books and occasionally going to the studio to record The Model Health Show but that's where we lived. And being that we lived in the woods, so kind of distant from the rest of society, even the closest gas station was like at least 15 minutes drive away, nobody came out there as far as delivering prepared meals. So for four years... Some nights, you just like which one to order, some carryout, just order some delivery, alright, not for us. That was one of the small downside was weren't getting food delivery for four years. And so when we moved to LA, and we had Postmates, DoorDash, it was crazy. And you can get delivery for all of this incredible food, organic food, all these great standards.
I'm not saying we went a little bit overboard but we went a little bit overboard, right? But then of course we reeled it back in and then the quarantine hit and it wasn't just us anymore. Now, many people in society are taking advantage of these different resources of delivery. Also, personal shopping folks going to grocery stores and doing your shopping for you and bringing it to your house, those for some people were doing it, now more people are doing it, just even to get access to things that you don't have to go out and battle stand in line for because of our fear-based mindset that a lot of people have kind of been imbibing because of what's going on around us.
And so with that said, fortunately even when I lived in The Woods, we were still able to get access to delivery of high-quality foods that of course we had to prepare for ourselves, but we still had access to that. Thanks in large part to Thrive Market. Thrive Market has been a game-changer for us. Because even going to a Whole Food, it was 30-something minutes away just to get access to that. And that's the same for many people around the country, but Thrive Market has expanded, they've got additional warehouses. I'm actually the first podcast to feature Thrive Market, many, many years ago and it's been a continuous thing that's been utilized by my family for years, and we save so much money because they take a lot of the products that you find at Whole Foods and they're providing them for you at 25-50% off the retail prices, of the conventional grocery stores.
It's amazing that this is even available, but it is, and that's what Thrive Market has to offer. So they've got everything you need, non-GMO, organic, clean beauty, safe supplements, non-toxic home items, as well. That's what we use here, whether it's for cleaning products, personal care products, we're getting a lot of our stuff from Thrive Market. And on top of that, they also have now, ethical meat, sustainable seafood, clean wines. We're just going to be honest, right now, okay? Cinco de Mayo just passed, which we already have seen this uptick, since people are home-schooling and day drinking.
Alright, Cinco de Mayo is an excuse to day drink and plus have margaritas. Alright, so we've seen uptick in that, but they have clean wines. I'm not saying you heard it from me, but you heard it from me. Alright, so they have clean wines as well and so much more. And right now, more than ever, this is a tool to implement and take advantage of, I want to share this with you today so you take an advantage of it, but also moving forward. We save so much money. But here's something else that isn't talked about enough with a company like Thrive Market because they're also making a difference.
Going on right now, they know that countless people are struggling to afford food. And that's something that I have close personal experience with. Growing up, we often got food from food banks, and we were on food stamps, and things like that, and there was oftentimes more month at the end of the money. And many times we do that thing, where you know how you open the refrigerator and you go back and you open the refrigerator later, just expecting something magically to appear. But oftentimes our refrigerator would be barren, but then this food stamp Christmas comes and we'd load up and then it's gone within a few days. And they know that right now, more than any other time really in our lifetime, folks aren't able to work.
Unemployment has sky-rocketed and this is having a terrible effect that is not being talked about enough, right? People are just saying, "Stay safe, stay home." They're not looking at all the other ramifications that are taking place as a result and people need food. And if we know, income is very difficult to procure food for our families, and I'm sorry, I'm getting a little bit emotional. They've got a relief fund that they've set up, and I want to share this, even right now, this is the time to do whatever you can.
I've worked incredibly diligently for years to put myself in a position to where I could support my family even under dire conditions and I've been through a lot lately, and with that said, I've been sending out money to help family members just to pay their rent to make sure that they're eating. I've been giving away gift cards and things like that online, to folks, just helping folks to pay their bills, people that I don't even know. I'm doing... But the thing is, you don't see all this stuff promoted. I'm not like going out and, "Hey I look what I just, I just sent this money to... " We don't have to do that, just do it, just give. And I love the fact that other organizations are stepping up and doing the same thing, as well.
And so the Thrive Market has a COVID-19 relief fund set up, where they'll provide grocery stipends to families facing health or financial hardships due to COVID-19. And right now Thrive Market members and partners have collectively already raised more than $400,000, to date. So it's close to half a million dollars they've raised to help feed people. And they've been doing this for a while, not just since COVID-19, but prior because every paid membership, they give away a membership to Thrive Market, to a family in need, low-income family, teacher, Veteran, somebody who's in need, to help them to save money on high-quality food. And so, I just love them very much, obviously. And right now, in addition to saving up to 25-50% off the retail prices of a lot of these incredible foods you'll get at your grocery stores, or a Whole Food, places like that, you'll also receive up to $20 in shopping credit when you get a new membership right now, or you can also get access to a variety of special offers for some of their amazing foods, personal care products, and more.
Head over there, check them out, take advantage, it's ThriveMarket.com/modelhealth, alright. That's ThriveMarket.com/modelhealth and get access to all this good stuff. Alright, again, love them very much. And now, before we jump into our incredible show topic of the day, let's jump into the Apple Podcast review of the week.
iTunes Review: Another five-star review titled “Dedicated” by Harriet&Valentine. “I have to thank you for your honesty, humility, and unwavering commitment to helping others. It is so evident that you are dedicated, not only to the physical health of your listeners but also to the growth of their minds and the way in which they serve their community. I don't think there's anyone quite like you in the industry, and I'm so honored to learn from you. Keep up the good fight.”
Shawn Stevenson: Wow, thank you so much for leaving me that review over on Apple Podcast that means so much. Thank you for recognizing me and just thank you for making me a part of your life. And I'm just very committed to continuing this conversation and to serve and everybody listening, if you've yet to do so, please pop over to Apple Podcast and leave a review for the show. It means so much, and on that note, let's get to our topic of the day.
Today I want to share some of the fascinating data that's come forth as a result of this social and economic shutdown. Now, first of all, one of the most striking things that I've noticed, living in LA now it's notorious for traffic and for air pollution, and over the past couple of months, I've been doing a physical therapy session several times a week, and so when the quarantine kicked in, traffic was absolutely, amazingly gone. There were so few cars out on the roads compared to what it was. And also just being more relaxed because there's not as much traffic pressure. You start to just really see your environment a little bit more. And so prior to the quarantine, I could see a slight, little, daintily view of a mountain off in the distance on my drive home. When the quarantine kicked in, within a week, maybe two weeks, I could see that mountain as clear as day. It was beautiful. Now, just this week, a couple of days ago coming back from my session, I could see mountains behind that mountain. In fact, I could see mountains behind that mountain behind that mountain. It is crazy the amount that the air quality has improved and that the skies have cleared up as a result of the quarantine.
Now, the coronavirus shutdowns have had an unintended benefit of drastically improving our air quality. Pollution monitoring satellites operated by NASA and the European Space Agency have observed drastic decreases in air pollution in countries all over the world while the quarantine has been in effect. The satellites measured concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, which is released by cars, power plants, and industrial facilities, and the difference is unmistakable. We now have one-to-one proof that the more humans are out and about being all sophisticated, the more that we are damaging the environment around us. And it is what it is. To our environment, as humans we function much like a virus does. We insert ourselves into the environment. We take control of the environment, replicate, and we also bring harm to the planetary organism that we all actually live in when things get out of control. And in some ways, humans are actually more virus than viruses are.
And if you think about it, it makes complete sense because humans are more virus than viruses are. And we've talked about this on a past episode, really diving in and talking about the science behind viruses because that's where we really need to be at. In the conversation about what's going on, we need to look at the basics. And the first hallmark thing for us to realize is that we have over 300 trillion viruses in and on our bodies right now, you and me both, and this is just the normal state of things. You have over 300 trillion viruses in you right now. Some of these viruses are infecting your quote "human" cells and some of these are even infecting your bacteria cells in your body because viruses are immensely small, smaller than bacteria. And you can have hundreds or even thousands of virus particles inside of a bacteria. And so these are called bacteriophages, the type of viruses that infect your bacteria. But in addition to this and this human virome... So we know about the microbiome, there's been a lot of talk about that, but it largely focuses on the bacteria cascade but we are largely made up of viruses, to the degree that viruses actually take things to an entirely different level.
Because as they extracted things and looked at the entire human genome, as we talked about, it was discovered that humans are in fact over 8% virus. The human genome, the thing that makes us human, is 8% endogenous retroviruses that make us up, that make us human. If it wasn't for viruses, we would not be who we are today. And I'm talking high levels of that statement because I just read a recent study that affirmed that it was a symbiotic relationship with viruses that enabled us to evolve a placenta over many generations. So without viruses, we'd be laying eggs. We'd be laying eggs if it wasn't for viruses. In order for us to allow a fetus to mature inside of the mother's uterus, an animal needed a way to provide oxygen and nutrients while removing waste and keeping both blood supplies separate. And this was thanks to the help of symbiotic viruses that we evolved with.
Now, again this goes back a long time, we're talking millions of years of evolution, but what about viruses? How do we know how long they can live? And what's so fascinating, the oldest virus discovered was about 30,000 years old, and this was discovered in Siberia. Whenever I think of Siberia, I think about that movie Spies Like us, Chevy Chase, with the big fur coats. I don't know if they were in Siberia but that's the vibe I think about. But it was discovered in Siberia and it was trapped in the permafrost. So frozen virus discovered, 30,000 years old. And here's the crazy part. When they brought it back to the lab, this virus was still infecting cells. It was still able to infect cells. This virus is basically like Captain America getting stuck in the ice, and when it's thawed out it's still doing its thing. The resilience is remarkable and it actually adds on to the human resilience because we evolved with viruses.
And that symbiotic adaptation over time is what has made us who we are. So, pretty fascinating stuff and this is just a small slice of it. Because there are also other viruses that helped to turn us from a ball of cells into a fetus, into eventually a fully-formed infant. And these viruses have evolved to help this process of replication, cell replication, and also to protect us from pathogens in the process. As we talked about on that past episode, our immune system is based off of the functions of viruses that we have within our bodies adapting against other viruses and creating this incredibly intelligent immune system that we have.
So, we evolved in large part thanks to viruses. So my question for you is, why has the narrative been shifted so heavily to protecting ourselves from viruses? There's obviously a lot of information that's being tossed around right now due to our current situation, but a huge portion of that information and the information that seems to make the most headlines is information based on assumptions and not on actual facts. And even things that are deemed to be true at the time can evolve and change. So why then when new facts are brought forward that contradict or even disprove the things that we previously believed, why is it so difficult for us to accept that the original assumptions are no longer true? And this is something that has haunted humanity for a very long time. And this reminds me of a wonderful story about Albert Einstein while he was teaching at Princeton University, teaching physics.
And he was teaching a class of second term physics students, so he taught them for their first term, and now they're in class with him for their second term. And he passed out an exam and the teacher's assistant was shocked to see that this was the same exam that he had given them last year. And he came up to Einstein after the exam was over, and he asked, "You do realize that you gave them the same exam that you gave them last year, don't you?" And he said, "Yes, the exam was the same." And the teaching assistant was still perplexed and he was like, "Why? Why would you give them the same test that you had given them last year?" And Albert Einstein replied, "Because the answers changed. The answers changed. Science changed." Even in that small amount of time, things can change dramatically. The facts that we now believe, the assumptions that we hold, can change and evolve and we have to be willing to imbibe, and to hear, and to imbue these new facts, these new pieces of data, into our psyche. But it's very, very difficult to do so.
And this is thanks in large part to what I refer to as a mind virus, a human mind virus. And it's the fact that we have a tendency to replicate the same thoughts over and over and over again once we're infected with an idea. And this is just kind of how we're hardwired. And the problem is that humans we tend to think inside of very stringent boxes. Even today with access to the internet and with every piece of scientific data right at our fingertips, we still have highly trained, absolutely brilliant people, brilliant physicians who still believe that nutrition, and sleep, and exercise aren't very effective at treating and preventing chronic diseases, even with all the data that shows that it is in fact true. Now, let's be clear, it is a growing minority but it's still true. Not to mention 10 or 20 years ago, when much of the data on nutrition was still available, but the majority of health practitioners were not given viable training on nutrition. It's just not something that was seen in universities. And as a result, many folks believe that nutritional science was not very credible.
For example, when I was working at my university as a personal trainer, I'm talking 18 years ago, I was sitting with my clients, my new clients, and I had this cereal bar package that I kept with me. There was a cereal bar still in it, and I did this for a couple of years. The cereal bar was probably still good because it was made of stuff that never dies, kind of like a virus. But I would show them the back of this cereal bar and show them the high fructose corn syrup and the partially hydrogenated oils. And I would talk about the data that was right there, so clear that nobody seemed to know about and how this can damage their health. And now today, a lot of the data is still present from back then, there's even more data to affirm that. For example, research published in The Journal of Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior found that high fructose corn syrup is a major causative agent in visceral fat accumulation, so that's fat around the belly, and leptin resistance.
So if we're talking about helping folks to lose body fat, to lose weight, yet they're eating these "Low calorie" cereal bars and things of that nature, we're often setting people up for failure because they have ingredients like that. But again, this has been common knowledge for a long time, but if you're not willing to look at the data and to accept that it's true, it's very difficult to take the data and then to help people with it. Even the handwashing that everybody's become so adamant about today, clean hands was widely ridiculed and rejected by the medical establishment not that long ago. Physician Ignaz Semmelweis, which is a gangster name in and of itself, was going hard with the medical system because he was trying to find out why so many women were dying post-childbirth. And he was looking at so many different factors that it could have been.
And the thing that he finally landed upon was the fact that the midwives that were delivering babies, their rate of deaths for the women who had just had a baby were so much lower, and the midwives weren't dissecting and fiddling with dead bodies and then doing births like physicians were. And he pinpointed this thing and came up with this crazy idea of washing your hands before helping with childbirth, and he saw this dramatic decrease in deaths. And his colleagues and physicians at the time fought back with him adamantly, "That is so crazy. This has nothing to do with handwashing." Because the commonly accepted belief, as far as infections, was based on a belief of this miasmatic theory of disease.
Miasmatic theory of disease that sickness was caused by bad air, "Bad air." That's what's killing people. "There's just bad air in here. That's why she died." Now, the funny thing is that in preparation for this episode, as I've been researching it for the past couple of weeks, I watched one of my favorite shows, this might be one of my all-time favorite shows, and it's on Netflix, it's called "The Last Kingdom." I love this show, I'm not ashamed about it, it's fantastic. But there hasn't been a new season that's come out in a couple of years, and they just put a new season, they've dropped a new season on me for quarantine. Thank you, Netflix. And so we're watching this new season, and funny enough, even though the season was recorded prior to this epidemic taking place, this show is based on...
There's some historical pieces from hundreds of years ago and based on the evolution creation of what's the UK today. And the character, the main character, is Uhtred of Bebbanburg. Now, if you've watched that show, you know that that impersonation was fire. Uhtred of Bebbanburg. And in this season they had a sickness coming through and taking over the population. And Uhtred had to make clear because people were afraid, like, "Don't touch other people." But he said, "No, the air is bad. It's in the air." And so there was a sickness in the air, the same miasmatic theory of disease that there's bad air around and that's what makes people sick. They recorded this season prior to the epidemic. How did they know? And so I was just like, "Whoa, wait a minute. That seems like a very archaic, unevolved perception of how people get sick." But the reality is we still think that way today, even though the evidence shows otherwise. And that's one of the things we're going to be talking about today as well.
But my point is, whether it's nutritional science, whether it's the simple act of hand washing, it takes time for the truth to be accepted. And it's been that way since the beginning of human history and it hasn't really slowed down that much even with the Internet. Even in our hyper-speed world, the loudest voices are those who are grounded in their long-held beliefs about science that have become obsolete. And most people, the average person knows nothing about how science works and its application to you as a human being. So what we do is we look to those quotes "Privileged people" that are so prestigious and we rely on them for our guidance in what to do with our own health. And those days, for myself and for this community, those days are over. Those days are over. We're making some change.
The real problem at its core, when new facts are presented to us, when new information comes along and it is in direct conflict with the information that we already had and in some cases actually obliterates that information, the reason that it's so difficult to take that data on, to accept that what we once believed was wrong, at its core, the real issue is a lack of a willingness to be wrong. None of us wake up in the morning like, "You know what? I want to be wrong today." We have very strong cognitive biases that we are hardwired with to make sure that we are as right as often as possible. And it's really a survival mechanism. And I want to talk about that today because this has a lot to do with what I refer to, again, as a mind virus and being able to protect yourself from mind viruses.
And the reality is we're going to be infected whether we realize it or not, but we can be more of a participant in accepting the beliefs that infect us, rather than just having them thrust upon us and changing the way we think in ways that we don't even realize. And so talking about a cognitive bias, a cognitive bias is a systematic tendency that leads us away from rational thinking even when presented with proof that what we believe is not actually true. Now, because of our cognitive biases, we become so ingrained in our beliefs that anything that doesn't fit our model or perception of reality is often belittled, fought against, or even ignored altogether. Our minds really do work a lot like a puzzle and if we come in contact with a piece of data that fits our mind's puzzle or our perception of reality, that puzzle, if it fits, we take that piece of data on.
But if we come in contact with a piece of data that doesn't fit, even though it might be true if it doesn't fit our puzzle of how life is supposed to be or the facts that we believe, we discard it because it simply doesn't fit our definition or our perception of reality. And this puzzle picture that we're creating all the time happens at lightning speed. It is happening without your awareness the vast majority of the time. You see, the job of the brain is actually to learn so that you don't have to learn. So the job of the brain is to learn so that you don't have to learn. What do I mean by that? There are billions, trillions of data points that are coming in at you at all times, and so your brain is always looking for automation. It's always looking for ways to automate behavior. And once it learns something, it puts that on automation and so it's looking to do as many of those things as it possibly can. It's trying to learn something so it doesn't have to learn anymore. It's trying to learn something so it can forget about it and not have to deal with it.
And so again, when we're taking in facts and information, once we laid down that groundwork for our puzzles... And we have different puzzles for different areas of our lives, different puzzles for our health, different puzzles for our relationships, different puzzles for who we believe ourselves to be. If a puzzle piece doesn't fit... Maybe you are a very kind and giving and gentle person, but you're presented with an opportunity to be hurtful to somebody, you simply can't take that on and you respond in a different way because you don't believe yourself to be that person, so you toss that puzzle piece to the side. And so we're doing this at lightning speed.
And so another way to look at this is something called selective perception, and this is how we literally have a filter on what we allow to get into our minds and to change our perspective or to influence our thinking. We all have this selective perception. Something might be as true as the sun rising, but if it doesn't fit within our perception of reality, we simply don't even see it. In addition to that, we also have something called confirmation biases, and this is a systematic tendency that we actively only seek information that confirms our beliefs. We're all doing this all the time and we also reject information that dis-confirms our beliefs. This is a confirmation bias and we do this all the time. And ooh, once we actually make a judgment about something, it is incredibly difficult for us to change that belief. It takes almost a miracle for us to admit that something we believe was true is not true and this is because you have to be willing to admit that you're wrong. Alright, now you might be thinking like, "Shawn, I'm fine with admitting that I'm wrong," you're probably right, maybe for small stuff like I admit that I was wrong for leaving the toilet seat up.
I admit that I was wrong for talking to you that way. But for big beliefs, for highly emotional beliefs, something called the self-serving bias gets ramped up to a thousand and we have a tendency to focus only on information that enhances our belief that we are right and protects us from negative feedback. Our mind is always looking for things to affirm that what we believe is true and what we believe is right, and we actually have to proactively fight against this tendency because it can lead to dangerous selective perception and that's what's happening for so many people right now and that makes our mind actually miss all of the contradicting information that can be incredibly valuable for us.
And according to psychologist Dr. So, we can do something about this and train our brains to more effectively defend itself from mind viruses by number one, fighting the first impression. Alright, fighting the first impression. We make judgments of people and events with lightning speed and I'm talking about within a fraction of a second. For example, once people see a picture of me or maybe see me on the street, you likely do not think that "Oh, this guy grew up with his grandmother on a country dirt road in the Boondocks in Missouri." Alright, you probably don't think that, "Oh, he lived in the woods or whatever," you don't, you probably don't have those assessments about me and the perceptions that you may have even when somebody sees the podcast icon of what they're going to hear and receive and the person that I am it's probably going to be colored in a judgment that isn't actually close to the person that I actually am.
And there're many examples of this that take place in all of our reality and being judged unfairly just even based on the way that we look. Examples coming to mind now that I feel like sharing. I was at a famous clothing store not too long ago, just a few years back, and just doing some shopping and I was in the dressing room and I got a call from a patient I had work with and her aunt had just got diagnosed with cancer, and she was just asking me some advice, some of the things that I thought about that she could possibly do some resources, some of the clinically proven things that can be brought into the fold to help to support her. And so I was just sharing just maybe a 5-10 minute call. And I got out dressing room, I went to their register, bought a couple of things didn't get the other things and when I stepped outside of the clothing store I was surrounded by officers. They had their hands on their tasers and I'm just, obviously in shock.
I'm like, "What is going on? What's happening?" And the manager had reported that I was in the dressing room probably stealing. I was in the dressing room stealing and I was in there for 10 minutes helping somebody. I was doing the opposite. I was in there trying to serve and to support somebody and I got accused because I definitely did not look like the rest of the people in that store because of the way that I look, and they looked at my bag, they saw of course that I didn't steal anything and they still, they were wanting, I could see it, they wanted to hurt me. They were trying to egg me on, and this happens all the time as you know, but maybe you don't know because some people are blind to the fact that these things happen because they might see me and like, "Oh you listen to the show." You're like, "Not you Shawn, you wouldn't be one of those people that these things happen to." That's been my reality. Like I said, I spent many years living in Ferguson, Missouri.
I come from a wide range of different exposures and experiences, so I have a wide range of things that had happened in my life. And so all of these things I'm so grateful for because they give me the opportunity to expose other people to their cognitive biases and to see them in myself because I know that so many different things are possible hearing those scenarios. Because even for me, I can see the perception of the officer and I can think about all the different pieces that might be going on in their life experience and maybe the relationship they might have with their parents and all these different things, not to justified people's behavior, but just to help myself to understand and have a sense of certainty and rationality in a world that can often seem very crazy.
And so, I purposefully utilize the way that I look to break these cognitive biases for people because when people see me and I'm not wearing a lab coat, and I'm this cool guy and I've got my hat on and my, I've got my Jordan's on, and I'm dropping... I'm a scholar. I'm dropping science like few people can. Making the most complex health and science ideas readily available and easily assimilated by millions of people. And it goes back for me reading and researching Einstein for many years and there's another great quote from Einstein when he said that, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't know it well enough," and that really struck me because I already saw myself walking that path and just wondering why are we making things so complicated when it's really simple? But a big part of that is we believe that it has to be hard, we believe that it has to be complex, and also when things are tough, we tend to give our power away to other people that we believe to be more acclimated, are more skilled, are more experienced in helping us.
When in reality we live with ourselves all the time, we always have and always will, and we need to become experts in ourselves, and we need to become experts in making our own judgments, and not having judgments imposed on us. And again, I'm laying the foundation for understanding these mind viruses, the human virus itself and how our interaction with what's happening in our world, and this virus, this popular virus. Some of the data that is often shocking, but it has to make its way through to you, and so that's what we're laying the groundwork for. So understanding that once you hold the picture in your mind of how someone is or something is, we are very reluctant to change it. We have to be willing to postpone that first impression, and so practice holding off on snap judgments, make this a practice, and being open to being surprised or even being wrong. How often have you had perceptions about somebody and you end up being like, "I was wrong about you." You might not say it to the person, but it's in your mind, in positive and sometimes in not so positive ways because we have these snap judgments, and a lot of times they are not accurate.
Now, here's the funny thing, listen to this. The funny thing is, once you practice this you actually become better at making assessments because you stay more in the inquisitive, executive part of the brain that actively looks for patterns and helps you to stay away from being overtaken by the more primitive, highly emotional parts of the brain that are hard-wired to overreact. You become better at making assessments, at making judgments when you practice not making snap judgments if that makes sense. Also, practicing not allowing information to bypass all of your executive assessments. Right now people are being very irrational. My colleagues, people that I respect, that I love, they're allowing what's happening to bypass their executive functions, and they're making dangerous assessments about what's going on. And being in positions of power of themselves, many of them, for me, this is unsettling and this is why I want to have this conversation.
Number two, another step that Dr. So recommends is to, "Jump to the other side, jump to the other side." When you receive a new piece of data, something that seems very factual, it's coming from what you would deem to be a credible source, "Expert." Or it's on the TV. You get this piece of data, practice jumping to the other side, not just taking what they say at face value as truth, but go to the other side of the equation. In the context of food, you get this piece of data that spinach is super good for you. It's a super-food, it has all these incredible benefits, it's going to make you run faster, jump higher, be able to breathe underwater. Then there's this other side though, jump to the side. How can spinach kill you? And spinach actually is toxic for some people to a larger extent. There are some compounds in spinach that can make you sick. I'm not saying spinach is bad, but this is something, thankfully, because of my environmental exposures, I've come into this field already having a pretty good base in this of questioning everything and actually going and looking for the thing that refutes it, because I cannot give you a well-thought-out, comprehensive idea, assessment of something if I don't have all the data.
That's why I was so reluctant to even talk about what's going on with this virus, even though so many people were asking me because I need to get the data. Now we have a lot that has emerged and now we can talk about this and have a well-thought-out conversation. So have the audacity to look at the opposite of what you're being told, but the caveat here though is that it has to be concrete evidence. I can't just say I just found out that through some data, come to find out spinach can actually help me breathe underwater. I'm a merman now. There's no such data, but just if it happened. You have to be willing to look at the other side of finding concrete data that, oh, actually spinach doesn't help you to breathe underwater.
You need to find a study, you need to find another credible source because a lot of times they are there, but if we get so caught up in the salacious headline, like if you saw the headline, spinach could help you breathe underwater, people are going to go nuts, going out and buy spinach even though they have no idea if it's true or not, just because they heard this piece of data. I hope that makes sense. Have the audacity to go and look for concrete evidence. I love this quote from Marcus Aurelius that says, "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." This is one of the most palpable and hard-hitting statements for me right now personally, because I know many of you feel like you can be cut adrift when you see other people around you just being inundated by information that is not proven, their assumptions and also oftentimes they're not even true at all.
And so we're going to dive in and talk about this a little bit more now because now we're going to get into the real heart of the matter today, because I really wanted to lay the groundwork today for us to really get clear on our cognitive biases and our selective perception to make a way through those things so that we can be able to see a little bit more clearly, some of the other evidence, some of the other facts that have been brought forth about our current situation. They have to find a pathway through because this is so emotionally charged and when it's emotionally charged, a lot of stuff can become a place where we're in fighting and we're not really having positive helpful conversations amongst a group of humans who are really just trying to be happy, who are trying to thrive and to take care of the ones that we love. That's what it is really about at the end of the day, but when we're inundated by the media and talking heads, propagating extreme salacious headlines, and there's a ticker on the screen with the death toll rising like it's the freaking stock market ticker.
This can create a situation where it's significantly more challenging to accept factual information that contradicts that. For example, in Italy, the country that was really hit hardest prior to the United States, embarking on our own lockdown and quarantine. In Italy, the scientific advisor to Italy's Minister of Health, who was like we could say the counterpart, their Fauci in Italy. The scientific advisor to Italy's Minister of Health has stated publicly that, "The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous, in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus. On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12% of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88% of patients who have died that have been infected with the coronavirus had at least one pre-morbidity. Many times they had two or three." Another Italian government official encapsulated the data by saying, "I want you to remember that these people died with the coronavirus and not from the coronavirus."
We're looking at issues that are widely overlooked. For 88% of these folks where coronavirus was listed as the cause of death on their death certificate, 88% of these folks having cancer, diabetes, heart disease, that were deemed by these professionals to be the real cause of death, they just happened to have the virus. And so when you take that piece of data into account, it slashes the number of deaths by thousands. Suddenly, it becomes less scary and suddenly it should shift our conversation to, "How do we help 88% of these folks who are so susceptible to dying because of chronic illnesses that are largely driven by things that are controllable?" We can help, but we can't help if we're not focused on the real issue here. Now, the craziest thing about this is that the same thing is happening in the US with inaccurate reporting and not acknowledging the underlying cause that we actually need to do something about.
In the US, the vast majority of deaths, 94% at this point reported, occurred in patients with underlying conditions. Most commonly reported were diabetes, chronic lung disease and heart disease. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed the data of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in New York City and uncovered that the most common co-morbidities were hypertension, obesity and diabetes. At least 94% of the time. We're talking 94% to 98% of the time. But what we tend to do is because of our cognitive biases, most people that are so engulfed in the fact that these numbers are so bad and so high, they'll ignore the fact that we have all of these other co-morbidities and they say, "Well, Shawn, totally healthy people are dying too." Not really, not really. That's the exception and not the rule. And who are you to say that they are healthy in the first place? None of us are immune from the basic laws of the body. None of you are immune, myself included, from the basic laws of human health.
So even though I might not have a diagnosed chronic illness, if I am under extreme stress, if I am sleep deprived at this time, if I am deprived nutritionally if I have nutrient deficiencies, I am subjecting myself to a higher incidence of a virus killing me. This happens every year, every day, every single day, all day, forever, as long as humans have existed. But more so today, but more so today, because we're radically unhealthy compared to our ancestors. And so that's what I want us to understand. Tens of thousands of people die from the flu every year in the United States. And not to say... I'm not comparing, I'm not comparing COVID-19 to the flu, I'm not doing that. I'm just saying, "Why were we not upset? We should have been upset that, again, upwards of 98% to 99% of the people who die from the flu had diabetes, were obese, had a heart disease. Why are we not helping people?" The same government bodies that are telling you to hide out in your home are allowing people to eat all of this, to eat all of this dangerous deadly processed food.
As a matter of fact, they're promoting it. As a matter of fact, they are receiving government subsidies to give you more of it. The craziest thing for me right now is seeing the people who, under other circumstances, like, "I don't trust politicians. I don't trust the media, it's fake news," and all of a sudden the news is real, politicians what they say is gospel now like that because they're afraid. And those cognitive biases, something cut right through 'cause they're like, "I don't trust my politicians." Well, my politician said, "We've got to take back control of our minds." Who has control on your mind? You know that little game when you're a kid? Like, "Who's got your nose?" Who's got your mind? Who's got your mind? Again, not to say we don't have an issue here, but we're going to expand on this even more so you know what the real issue is.
Now, the largest thing that I've seen even for, again, colleagues, people that I love and respect, is that they are promoting the holy trinity of protection right now. It's is called the protective triad of face mask, social distancing, hand washing. These are the three things, the holy trinity, to protect you from the coronavirus. Now, one of the arguments that I've heard is that instead of doing the thing and addressing what we really need to address which is getting our community healthier, helping folks to support and enhance the function of their immune system, especially those who are immune-compromised because of chronic illnesses. And having folks to focus on that protective triad, the ROC symbol, the protective triad, and not focusing on how do we help folks to improve the function of their immune system which is truly the protective agent far more powerful than this protective triad. One of the arguments that I've heard is people saying people just need to wear a mask because you can't improve someone's immune system overnight. You can't improve someone's immune system overnight, they just need to wear a mask.
First of all, that's wrong. You can absolutely improve someone's immune system, you can improve your immune system overnight, and you could absolutely destroy your immune system overnight. And the difference is, I have the facts to back it up. For example, researchers at the Erasmus University Medical Center at Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, affirmed that just one night of sleep deprivation can derange the immune system and increase the likelihood of infection. One night can increase your likelihood of infection. It sounds like overnight to me. Research published by the Mayo Clinic shows that people who don't get quality sleep or get enough sleep, are far more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. Getting good sleep improves the production and activity of your immune fighting cells and antibodies. It's what it does. So, again, what really works? What has real science to back it up? We absolutely can improve people's immune system.
Every message that's out there to wear a mask should be coupled with a message to make sure people are getting adequate sleep. It should be coupled with a message for folks to make sure they're getting their nutritional needs met, it should be coupled with a message for folks to make sure that they're getting movement is because it's more important than ever right now, instead of just saying, "Here, wear this mask hideout," because I'm about to show you that it has not worked out very well for telling people to hideout. And it's going to really trip you out in just a moment.
So, in talking about exercise, a study conducted by Appalachian State University found that simply going for a walk, you know that place outside that we're not supposed to go, cause short-term boosts in immune system parameters, most notably for neutrophils, and natural killer cell blood counts. Natural killer cells are proven, clinically, to kill Coronavirus infected cells. All you got to do is go for a walk. It that sounds like overnight to me. You can improve somebody's immune system overnight. This is what I want. I want a complete story. Not to say, in an acute situation, wearing a mask can't be helpful. I've seen the video. Alright? There's the video going around because we don't have any actual clinical evidence that masks are effective, but they're showing you know you put on a mask, and then when you cough and they got the guy coughing, and they got this really cool video technology where we can could see the particles coming out from the body when the gas is released. And you see that when somebody coughs without a mask, yeah it goes further. But when the person coughs with the mask on, it's still coming out. It's coming through the mask, above the mask, under the mask, but it's not going to go out that six feet, 'cause keep that six feet distance, it's still coming out. All right. But that's neither here nor there. The point is, wearing the mask in an acute setting, if somebody's sick, can absolutely be helpful, but it's not the solution that we need to be talking about. That holy trinity, the ROC, we're missing out on huge pieces of the conversation.
Again, not to say, please hear my words, that a mask cannot be effective in acute situation. But to have that as the thing that we're holding up and promoting so heavily in our culture right now, and to say that we cannot do anything to improve somebody's immune system overnight, we are really, really missing the point, and we're missing the science. That's what this is was supposed to be about, it's supposed to be about science, and I've got more of it.
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center found that UV light from the Sun is capable of rapidly enhancing the activity of your infection-fighting T-cells, other are the cells that kill viruses, just getting sunlight. But the problem is, we've been told to stay inside. Stay home, stay safe. How's that working out for us? Well, guess what, just hours ago, before this show, a staggering new report from New York State came out. And it found out that the vast majority of new COVID-19 hospitalizations, in New York, are from people who were staying indoors, at home, and not going outside much. A shocking finding says Governor Andrew Cuomo, shocking, almost 70% of the people who stayed home didn't stay safe.
Now, of course, if you have a confirmation bias that is because COVID is so relentless, it can't... You stay home, stay safe it come knock on your door. It kicks the door down, actually COVID as a battering ram, COVID's coming for you. If you have this confirmation bias that that's where your attention is going to go, that's why they stayed home and they didn't stay safe when in actuality, they can actually look at the evidence that shows that staying indoors, with the coronavirus or not is making our population radically unhealthier.
One of the largest reasons is because of the production of vitamin D. Now this steroid hormone is produced in your body via the cholesterol you have in your system when you're exposed to sunlight. We need this, for the function of hundreds or even thousands of enzymatic processes in our body to work right. Many of them are involved in our immune system, to the degree that obesity, and this is published in the BMJ Peer Review journal, is a strong COVID-19 risk factor as our other comorbidities, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and a sedentary lifestyle. This is all data, peer-reviewed evidence that's available out there. All of these are dependent on mitochondrial functionality. And specifically, they've been found to be reliant proportionately more on vitamin D.
And in this study they noted that fat cells accrete vitamin D, and the obese consistently have lower vitamin D status. So again, if somebody is battling with obesity, their need for vitamin D is even more, and staying indoors is not going to help them much. Now, with that said, we do have access to supplementation, so we can throw that into the conversation. I'm not going to bypass the fact that that's helpful, but what have humans evolved doing? How did we evolve creating vitamin D? It's getting access to sunlight. We need it for so many different aspects of our health. Supplementation is important, especially for folks that are immune-compromised, that might be truly homebound, that can't really get around, we need to get them some supplements to help out. And I want to take this a step further and talk about why.
Another study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine found that vitamin D is actually an immunomodulator. It can modulate and control your innate and adaptive immune responses. So your immune response and the adaptive properties of your immune response when you are infected with the virus, and your body being able to adapt, and to recognize that virus and kill it off if it ever comes in contact with you again. Vitamin D helps to control that system. A deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well and can increase susceptibility to infection. This is important guys, we need sunlight, and if you actually cannot get access to outside natural sunlight, you definitely need to take a vitamin D3 supplement right now, especially if you are in fear of contracting this virus. Alright, we need to do this. It is very, very important.
Now, to take this a step further and why I'm really leaning on outside and sunlight is because there's actually strong evidence that restricting public access to parks and natural areas threatens both our physical and mental wellbeing. Because there is strong evidence right now that restriction of public access to our parks, recreational areas, has tremendous negative impacts on our physical and psychological wellbeing, and that's starting to play itself out in the data. Just today here in Los Angeles, guess what they did? They opened some businesses, alright, but as far as parks, nope. But what they did open was golf courses. Who's that for? Come on now. So I'm not about the conspiracy thing, I'm just about facts. Most people don't have the economic status to involve themselves in going to a golf course if they want to go outside and get some sunlight in a natural environment, but the other natural environments are closed. Why would they open golf courses first? Come on, man.
Alright. Listen to this, this is really, really interesting. Another study published in the BMJ, again peer-reviewed Journal, British Medical Journal, demonstrated that closed environments... Because if we're worried about... If we're going to stay inside, stay safe, if you go outside, it's where danger is. Listen to this, they've got the data right here. Published in the BMJ, demonstrated that closed environments facilitate secondary transmission of COVID-19, so being indoors. And the transmission of COVID-19 in a closed environment was actually 18.7 times greater compared to being outside in an open environment. Going outside is so much safer by the facts, not by the hashtag "Stay home, stay safe." Okay. A Professor and Director of the International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia said, "Outdoors is safe and there is certainly no cloud of virus-laden droplets hanging around. Firstly, any infectious droplets exhaled outside would be quickly diluted in outdoor air. So their concentrations would quickly become insignificant. In addition, the stability of the virus outside is significantly shorter than inside, so outside is not really a problem. It is safe to go for a walk and jog, and not worry about the virus in the air."
Now when we hear something like that, even though this is a fact, it's very difficult to permeate our cognitive biases and to accept the fact that when we go outside in the open air, we're actually better off. It's difficult because this is not what we're inundated with by the media. And it's not what we're inundated with by the people in our environment who we see outside dressed like ninjas. Everybody's got a mask on, and you're just stepping out into a ninja assassin movie. So for yourself and others... I just saw my neighbor, by the way, so my man, all he did was just go outside and walk his dogs, there's nobody around. And there never is when he does his little walk, except me, but I don't really get close to him. He walks his dogs, he's got the longest ZZ Top beard you could ever see, and he's got the bandana around his face. Bro, it doesn't work like that. You've got a beard already, there are so many viruses in your freaking beard, it's like you are a walking human sample of the variety of cascade of viruses that are possible. Alright.
That beard is nasty, bro, but your bandana is keeping you safe or making sure that nobody else is getting infected by all the stuff in your beard. We're not using our rationality. And on top of that, constricting our breathing, and we've got a lot of other science that we'll talk about probably on a future episode. And the re-inhalation of our breath... When we're breathing out, we're supposed to be able to breathe out and breathe in fresh air, but it causes all of these different issues with oxygenating our brain, with issues like fatigue that can set in, headaches, anxiety, and actually some pretty dangerous stuff. We are not designed 24/7 to have our face covered. So again, in acute situations, absolutely. But when you go outside to get fresh air, go out and get fresh air. The air has never been fresher, get some. My neighbor just shared a story, she was walking by an elderly couple, very open environment on our street, and the elderly couple was walking, they had their mask on, and the husband wanted to protect his wife and so he was furiously waving at my neighbor to go to the other side of the street, "Get away from us. Getaway." He just wants to protect his woman, he wants to protect the person he loves.
I understand that but he's not being taught the right thing in how to protect her and we're losing our humanity. We're not supposed to be afraid of each other. To continue on, if we look at indoor air versus outdoor air and this is according to the EPA, the levels of indoor air pollutants are often two to five times higher than outdoor levels and in some cases, these levels can exceed 100 times that of outdoor levels of the same pollutants. In our homes when we're quarantined because we're forced to stay indoors, we can't go anywhere, that air that we're breathing inside of our homes is far less safe than the air outside and we know this. As a rational human being, we know this but the problem is our rationality has gone out the window. It's the only thing that has gone outside.
We've accepted things that are simply not true. A study published in the Journal of Virology affirm that sunlight or more specifically UV radiation from the sun is the primary natural virucide in our environment. This is the primary virucide, virus killing source in our environment in our natural world is sunlight. We need this. Another study published in the peer-reviewed journal Environment International looked at respiratory infection rates of college students living in dorms on the University of Maryland campus. They analyze infection rates of students with poor room ventilation compared to those who kept their windows open all the time. The surprising research found that those with open windows had one fourth the rate of respiratory infections just by getting fresh air. We got clinical data that getting fresh air protects us from infections.
I guess fresh air does matter. I guess it does matter. An analysis conducted by scientists at the Harvard University School of public health revealed that an increased outdoor air supply can literally prevent the airborne transmission of viral infections. I can do this all day. I can do this all day. It's just a matter of this being able to make its way through our selective, our cognitive biases that tell us other than even though those are based on assumptions and not facts. And this is a big reason why we are more unhealthy during this quarantine than prior to, and we're going to come out of this situation being less healthy with this and all of the other viruses, all of the other viruses to come with more of a compromised immune system.
And again, it's not just because I think it sounds nice to say this is because it's the truth. This is facts. Even after physical separation mandates have been lifted, the number of infections will continue to climb, but now the people who've been hunkering down, staying indoors, exercising less, sleeping erratically, eating more processed food, they're now more susceptible to serious repercussions from again, this virus and many others.
And now what I really want to pinpoint is the issue that is going on that's making us radically more unhealthy that has to do with our food right now because as widespread fear has taken over our society, you've seen the videos, you've probably experienced it some yourself. People have really went into a more of a primitive part of our brains and just when it started hoarding and gathering up all the food and largely processed food. And this is having some very surprising... Again, now I can talk about this because I have the data, we have actual data to discuss and to talk about it.
But I think it's important to know that the preface for what I'm about to say is because of this, poor diets are the number one cause of poor health and disease in the United States according to a recent study published in the journal of the American Medical Association. This is the biggest issue we have in our country that makes us more susceptible to everything. And it didn't change now because of quarantine, it got worse. Here's a little pandemic positive though. Pandemic positive, people are indoors more so they're cooking more might be via microwave but the pandemic punch in the face is that much of the food that we're cooking now at home is processed foods. And also understand that not everybody has the opportunity to access fresh, healthy foods, especially with the huge dents in their pockets.
And so what does this look like when we're talking about the overconsumption of processed foods right now during this time we're locked down and everyone is in fear. In the most recent months since the quarantine began, sales of Campbell's soup, which they've got a lot of chitty. Okay, it's chitty with the C-H. Chitty ingredients in their soups, it's soared 59% from a year ago, 59% increase in sales. Prego pasta sauce increased 52% and sales of its Pepperidge farm goldfish crackers climbed nearly 23%. Kraft Heinz, whose products had fallen out of favor with consumers in recent years because more people kind of waking up to this stuff.
And by the way, that resulted in massive write-downs in the values of its Kraft natural cheese. I'm sorry, did I say natural cheese? Oscar Mayer cold cuts, massive write-downs for them as their stock is going down. They told investors last week that some of its factories are now working three shifts continuously to meet high demands for their products like it's Kraft macaroni and cheese. Thank you quarantine. General Mills has seen across the board, increases in its variety of product lines in the past four weeks from their sugary yogurts and cereals to canned soups and Bisquick.
The cereal consumption is concerning enough obviously, but I know what you're thinking. Some of those canned soups they're good for you, right? Well, the randomized study conducted by researchers at Harvard University School of Public Health had folks eat either fresh made soups or canned soups for just five days. They found that the urine levels of BPA were 1,221% higher in those who ate the canned soup than those who ate the fresh made soup. Woah, mm-hmm, good. Now, listen, you might be like, "Well, okay, whatever with BPA". Just to give a little piece of information on that. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association tested almost 1,500 patients and found that higher levels of BPA exposure was directly associated with higher levels of liver impairment, and higher levels of inflammation. You don't need that right now, you don't need that liver impairment, you don't need that inflammation.
Guess what that does to your immune system? It makes you more susceptible to infection. So, this issue is absolutely crazy. And in addition to that, Conagra Brands which had reported declines of more than 5% in net sales for the quarter ending in February, on February 23rd said that its shipments to retailers and in-store sales in March of this year had grown 50%. Sky-rocketed, as demand increased for their Slim Jim, beef jerky, frozen foods, and Chef Boyardee pasta. I grew up on that Chef Boyardee, okay. At one point I might have been maybe 8% beefaroni personally. I know how crappy those foods are, but that's what's happened. And this is literally feeding the problem when we're talking about being able to protect ourselves and to recover and to stay healthy as we experience this nationwide, and even global experience with this novel virus.
This is stuff we need to be focused on. How do we get our communities healthier? But we're doing the opposite, the opposite is happening, and this really goes to something called the law of unintended consequences. We're trying to do this altruistic thing over here telling everybody to stay home, stay safe, distance yourself, wear a mask, wash your hands obsessively. Be afraid of your hands actually, your hands can hurt you, stay away from your hands. If I could put my hands down, I put my hands down, just leave them somewhere, but unfortunately, I can't. But these are the things we're told to do. Not to say that hand washing isn't important, but we're missing the point, we get to a place that we're afraid of ourselves, afraid of our own bodies. Not talking about anybody else's body, just our own body in fear. And of course, being afraid of each other takes away from our humanity. It makes it where the situation becomes far more than an acute situation.
Now it's expanding and it's going to permeate and the law of unintended consequences see that, okay, we try to do this altruistic thing, we shut everything down to save lives, which again, if we look at the people who are staying indoors, not very effective. In addition to that and these things are shocking, we need to talk about these things. In the UK, since the quarantine has begun, deaths from domestic abuse have more than doubled during COVID-19 restrictions. Calls to domestic abuse helplines for women have surged seven-fold. Why are we not thinking, why don't we have a conversation when everybody's talking about what we're going to do? The powers that be with our society. Why don't we have a conversation about some of the potential side effects of that? Because there's a lot of them, so many more that we're talking about millions of lives lost in an effort to try and save a couple hundred thousand potentially, but those folks, those few hundred thousand, we can help them by helping them to get healthy.
But why would we do that, when our system is not set up in such a way that we're looking at how do we help people with chronic illnesses to get healthy? We have a system that is set up to support, enhance, and even encourage the farming of sick people with billion, multi, multi, multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies, multi, multi-billion dollar processed food industries. And we already see they got what they wanted, their stuff is shot up, and our health is shot down. And so I just want to have a conversation. What are the side effects of decisions like this? A new study, this is a new study. Now again, we've got evidence, and I can talk about it with you. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry describes coronavirus quarantine restrictions as quote, "The perfect storm for increased suicide rates".
The study also noted that the reported surge in US gun sales as COVID-19 restrictions have increased. With this, firearms are the most common method of suicide in the United States. And firearm ownership or access and unsafe storage are associated with elevated suicide risk. But is this actually playing out in society? We have some data on this as well, because suicide rates in Australia and this is according to researchers from Sydney University's Brain and Mind Center forecast a 50% rise in the national suicide rate because the social and economic impact of the government lockdown. It's on track right now because of this increase in suicide they're already seeing, to drive suicide death rates as much as 10 times higher than those caused by the coronavirus.
We need to talk about these things. If you stay silent if you don't use your voice if you don't step up if you don't pay attention if you don't help. Just lend a hand and help to shift the narrative and change the conversation. A lot of lives are going to be lost as a result of what's happening right now. The aftermath is absolutely terrible. And we have the data, it's right in front of us, but we have to take back control of our minds and I absolutely know that you have the power to do it. And we want this message to spread, share this with everybody that you care about, share this episode share it on social media, share it. Send it in a text, let's help get people educated.
Alright, because it's up to us. It truly is, because even the brightest most sophisticated minds right now, because of our biases, because of the data that we've been exposed to, we're getting to a place where we become so tunnel-visioned that we believe that there's nothing we can do about this when we absolutely can. And so in closing things up for this episode, now that things are quote "opening up" with the society a little bit, we want to make a dramatic shift in helping ourselves to get healthy and also our communities. The people that we care about, get this information out there and help, alright. The greatest thing that we can do is to help to create radical health in ourselves and in our families, in our communities. And so, I was just really thinking about, what are some of the things that we're going to do when we're given permission not to be afraid of people anymore?
When they tell us we don't have to be afraid anymore, we can come out and play. What are some of the things that we're going to get to do? What are the things we miss that we couldn't do before? You know how you're maybe walking by, some people are playing basketball, they're playing soccer or they're throwing a football around maybe they're playing baseball, and the ball comes over to you, you're not playing the game, but the ball comes over to you. What a moment of pressure, that is right? They like, "hey throw it back, hey". You know you got the Frisbee or whatever. You got to make a good throw, you got to throw the ball over the fence, that pressure. But now we can't do that. Even with the restrictions lifted. You got that ball, you got COVID on your hand, you can't throw it back, people are not going to accept it. "Hey don't through that ball back, we got it" because we're afraid.
What are the things we're going to do when we're no longer afraid? We're going to be able to toss that Frisbee back, it's going to be amazing, right? Another thing, secret handshakes, LeBron James has all the secret handshakes right with his teammates, right? All of that, can't do it now. We can't do it. Can't do the secret handshake with your friends. Alright, when, when can we secret handshake again? When they tell you it's okay when it's all clear? What else are we going to do?
Another thing, I saw a commercial for contact-free pick up at Little Caesars, Little Caesars thank yous. They're finally offering contact-free Little Caesars. You don't have to touch anybody, everybody's wearing gloves, you don't have to see anybody you're going to put it through a little slot but that's really how you want to get Little Caesars. You want to get it like its illegal drug deal because Little Caesars is the pizza that you get when you're like, "You know what, I don't have a taste for pizza". Little Caesar sounds amazing. That's the pizza you get when you don't have a taste for pizza. "Pizza, pizza", that was a commercial. You buy one get one free. Not because it's a deal, it's because they're trying to get rid of them, alright. Here, you buy this one here take it, take this other one, contact-free.
But now, when the restrictions are lifted when they're saying it's okay to touch people again, and to see your friends, to go outside, you can go and pick a Little Caesars in person, but you might want to wear a mask so nobody sees who you are. I appreciate you guys so much and please again help this science to go viral. This is what really needs to be out there and making waves and impacting people's hearts and minds. I appreciate you so much for tuning into the show today. We've got some epic, epic stuff coming your way very, very soon. So make sure to stay tuned, take care have an amazing day and I'll talk with you soon.
And for more after the show, make sure to head over to themodelhealthshow.com. That's where you could find all of the show notes, you could find transcriptions, videos for each episode and if you got a comment you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome, and I appreciate that so much and take care. I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering great content to help you transform your life, thanks for tuning in.
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