Disrupters shake things up and disturb the peace causing the people around them discomfort, annoyance, anger, grief and a lot more negative things – usually. They can also lighten up a party. They usually have a mission of changing things up. They have the same effect as air turbulence on an otherwise smooth air flight.
Motivation for disrupters can be narcissistic meaning they just want to draw attention to themselves. These bores and bullies are everywhere but they are not what I want to discuss today. Rather the altruistic disrupters are unselfish people that see a problem around them and they offer a solution to make life better for everyone.
What if the problem the altruistic disrupters are solving is in fact bad for everyone? Worse, what if the solution they offer really is a disguise of something bad made to look good that only benefits a few?
OK Doc, what the heck are you talking about? Maybe a few good examples will help us understand where we, as horse owners and caregivers, stand in the bountiful field of solved problems.
Some of the solutions established in our cultures have been made to make life easier. Our smartphones, computers, and the internet are all good examples of ways we have improved the ability to communicate. Yet there is evidence everywhere that our communication skills are dissolving into bits of incongruent thoughts pasted together on a screen. Then when we try to communicate with our horses where body language and eye contact are essential, we fail without really understanding why we failed. When asked how someone can learn to connect with a horse like I can within seconds of meeting a new horse, I ask the person how their skills are in connecting with their spouse, parents, siblings, or the person behind the counter at the local convenience store. The answer always is that their ability to connect with them is poor. I reply, “Then start there with our own species.”
Another example of making our lives easier through an apparent “good solution” is seen in our food. It was only a few decades ago that the idea of growing foods in bulk and distributing them over great distances became a reality with the development of the railroads and the interstate system. The cattle drives that made the cowboy culture so famous are less than 200 years old. Electric refrigeration and microwaves are only 70 or so years old.
Agriculture is about 8000 years old yet you and I are homo sapiens that are at least 100,000 years old. In only a short time we have irrevocably changed the food we eat from genetic modification to eating foods we were never supposed to consume from countries we would never have visited. Marketers have demanded that we listen to them through false advertising to support the success of their clients. Foods thought good for us such as margarine are now known to be bad for us. We are so confused by high-fat versus low-fat diets or vegan versus carnivore that we all find sanctuary by declaring that “balance” is the best. But look around. How are the personal health of you and those you know? Obesity, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, heartburn, autoimmune diseases and generalized aches, pains, brain fog and blahs exist for almost everyone reading this.
The same is true for our horses and other animals we care for. We feed them what we are told to feed them and still there are more unhealthy and unsound horses than ever. Cushing‘s disease, insulin resistance, suspensory injury, colic and laminitis are seen at an alarming rate. EOTRH of the incisor teeth and deep digital tendon desmitis (dropped fetlocks or DSLD) were not even in the textbooks at vet school in 1980.
A well-known disrupter was Galileo who about 500 years ago determined that the sun did NOT circle the earth. Unfortunately, his theory that the earth was spinning on an axis and this spinning ball also circled the sun was considered heresy punishable by death by burning. The church really did not want its followers to think that anything but the Earth was the center of our universe. His sentence was commuted to life of house arrest and his books were burned instead.
It didn’t really matter that Galileo was correct. It went against the rules and the beliefs of the mass of people in charge. He was a true disrupter.
Elon Musk is another disrupter with the idea that we need to reduce carbon emissions by driving all-electric cars such as his Tesla. If his idea is successful, many gas stations and car makers will either be out of business or will change to adapt and survive. There are now investment firms that will only invest in companies with a low carbon emission impact. Mainstream car manufacturers are investing in electric car manufacturing and battery production while gas stations are also installing electric vehicle chargers.
Where I see the most disrupters are in the human medical field. There is now an explosive growth of medical doctors and researchers working hard to answer the question of why, in our enlightened society, is there an increase in illnesses in wealthy nations. Most of this work is pointing to the same cause – inflammation from the foods we eat. A few brave men and women with impeccable credentials are taking on the establishment of medicine, agriculture and marketing and using the ways of the internet to bring this new information to the people.
Horses and Humans
We must remember that while the raw materials placed into the mouth are different for horses and humans, what happens at the gut and cellular levels are virtually the same. Therefore it is valid to suggest that the results from human research may be relevant for horses. In the two years that I have been suggesting this concept of gut inflammation as being the root of most illnesses and lamenesses to horse owners, I have had hundreds of horses convert to non-inflammatory diets with amazingly positive results.
I consider myself to be an altruistic disrupter because I have no financial benefit now for suggesting we move away from all grains, grain and sugar beet byproducts, oils from seeds and endless supplements in our horses. I also suggest we replace the protein insidiously lost over time from the effects of feeding carbohydrates daily year-round (carbohydrate dependency). This approach is being heralded by more and more medical doctors as being the solution to human illnesses. The results I am seeing and hearing from horse owners around the world who try the no-grain diet are eye-popping. I am also finding in my own personal food choices that I feel good every day I don’t cheat with cookies or bread. They do taste so good! But as I progress with discipline, my body responds positively to the overall loss of inflammation.
This blog is out just at the New Year when we take the time to make resolutions. I personally resolve to start to eat like my ancestors and to teach horse owners about feeding their horses as their ancestors ate. It is a difficult task for me because of the limited availability of ancestral food for me on the road traveling and for horses kept within a limited pasture. So my resolution will be to personally avoid all sugar (except for the insoluble sugar in limited true vegetables), avoid all oils extracted from seeds (only consume extra virgin olive oil, MCT oil from coconuts, avocado oil and macadamia oil) and avoid all grains (“plant babies” with high sugar and lectins). I will also recommend the same for any horse owner asking how to make their horses’ lives better.
I risk being burned at the stake by farmers, grain distributors, truckers, railroad operators, tractor manufacturers, feed stores, veterinarians, nutritionists, supplement manufacturers and others affected by the elimination of these foods from the diet of horses. I risk being negatively questioned by colleagues and by skeptics. In my travels from Florida to New York to Louisiana to Washington seeing thousands of horses every year, I keep asking “Why are so many horses ill, lame, ill-behaved or just plain miserable?” It all keeps coming back to gut inflammation from the poor food choices horses are given.
Are you ready to resolve to learn more and become an advocate for your horses?