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Health is like a Jenga tower

Health is like a Jenga tower

I will never regret knowing this core principle of health

If you are perplexed by the comparison between health and Jenga, let me explain.

There can be many definitions of health, but I hope you will be willing to go all the way down to the atomic level where everything in the world and the universe is the same. The only difference between a tree and your dog is the arrangement of energy particles. The variables are infinite.

Health is an optimal arrangement of the body’s energy particles, nothing is added, nothing is subtracted. A healthy body can be compared to a completely assembled Jenga tower, stable and solid, able to resist external factors.

Pax looking at a treat on a Jenga tower

From the beginning when an egg is fertilized by a single sperm, this optimal particle arrangement, a.k.a. health, plays a crucial role in life. Many things can go wrong during fetal development due to genetic abnormalities, nutrient deficiencies, and chemical or physical trauma, but much more goes wrong as we and our dogs age.

As life progresses, the body becomes similar to a Jenga tower in three different ways:

  1. External forces affect its integrity
  2. Missing nutrients harm its stability
  3. Added pieces affect its equilibrium

Real-life examples that reflect these three points

1. Accidents, falls, fractures, cuts and other injuries are examples of external forces that can weaken the body in a reversible or irreversible way.

2. Missing nutrients are the missing Jenga blocks within the body, and nutrient-depleted food is the new normal. If only a few building blocks are missing they make the body weaker, but it will still “stand.”  However, at some point, the system deteriorates to a degree where the body is no longer able to maintain the integrity of the organs, cells, and their function...and you know what happens then. 

3. Adding foreign substances such as chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs, and pollution is the equivalent of adding more pieces to the Jenga tower of health, which will eventually topple over.

How does this apply to real-life?

1. Prevent physical injuries and maintain strength. Safety is number one when it comes to preventing accidents whenever possible. Injuries can also be caused by weakness or too much exercise. A couch potato is more likely to be weak and become injured. Ultramarathon runners will stress their bodies in an unnatural way, which comes with consequences. MODERATION IS THE KEY.

2. Ensure that you or your animal friend receives the following four essential nutrient groups: 

  1. Vitamins
  2. Minerals
  3. Amino acids
  4. Omega-3s

    With the exception of some vitamins, these essential nutrients have to be consumed in food and supplements. Supplements are important because food is no longer enough (more info here). 

    3. Avoid foreign substances whenever you can.

    Anything that has become a part of the body but isn't supposed to be is the same as adding pieces to the Jenga tower of health.


    What I mean is that any artificial chemical, preservative, or pharmaceutical drug, with the exception of a few hormones (for example, thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones, or insulin — which are not foreign to the body), comes at a cost.

    I am not suggesting that we should never use any prescription medication, antibiotics, or anesthesia. It is just important to acknowledge that they are “the additional and foreign pieces” in the Jenga tower of health and it is an extra burden on the equilibrium.

    The pharmaceutical industry does not acknowledge this because they are in the business of making drugs. However, our goal should be to return the body to the optimal and original Jenga tower of health with no pieces missing and no pieces added.

    In addition, exercise and fitness will also strengthen the body's stability.

    Let me give you some examples of how I deal with this challenge.

    I am far from perfect, especially when chocolate or yummy thin crust pizza is near, but I also do my best to prevent the Jenga tower of health from toppling over, and you can too when:

    1. You minimize processed food for you or your dog.
    2. You read ingredients, and try to make food at home. Even items such as almond butter can be made at home.
    3. You think twice when offered a prescription drug, and instead, read and ask questions before you pop any pills that help one symptom but bring on three others. Drugs are foreign and will always burden the body in some way.

    Many people are scared of what would happen if they didn't take the suggested meds. Of course, there are some medications that are needed, but based on my own experience in practice, our society could easily reduce the use of drugs by 75% with no ill effects.

    In contrast, almost every senior person I know is on warfarin, which is in fact a low dose of rat poison to thin the blood and prevent blood clots. They are never told that, for example, turmeric can do the same thing and it also appears to prevent cancer. 

    I can't resist the temptation to post the drug info summary here from the FDA website:

    Warfarin FDA information

    The important thing here is that no one, except you, can make decisions about your medication. Take Omega-3s instead of painkillers, eat well to prevent disease, exercise, and use a chiropractor or physical therapist or acupuncture and massage to avoid the use of drugs. 

    If a few pieces are added to your Jenga tower of health, it will be okay. But a senior with 5-10 different drugs on board will usually come alive and feel better when some of those drugs are eliminated. I have seen that with many dogs as well as my mother and a few other seniors.

    How do you shield yourself and your loved ones from overprescribing?

    You have to be gutsy, you have to ask questions, and you have to take charge and be there for yourself and your dog.

    I dare to say that this approach will create deeper health and keep your own and your dog’s Jenga tower of health solid and stable for many years to come.

    I wish you the very best!


    About the author

    Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

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