Digestable #25: Concussions, Exercise vs. Depression, Child Immigration Scheme, Vax Wars

Hello everyone,

Welcome to another edition of Digestable, the short, weekly email where I share information, ideas, and what’s new with me. This edition was emailed to subscribers on October 3, 2021. Check it out!

  • Concussion Recovery: On September long weekend I took a header on a mountain bike jump that resulted in a concussion and some memory loss. Thankfully, a CT scan revealed no brain swelling or bleeding, and even more thankfully, I regained the memories of my son’s wedding that occurred the day before the crash! My friend and chiropractor Dr. Jason Sabo pointed me towards nutritional and functional medicine resources to aid my recovery (in contrast to the GP who only directed me to correct my Tylenol deficiency). Here are the key facts I’ve learned:
    • Physical activity, at appropriate intensity, helps recovery. Every day that you delay exercise can delay your recovery.
    • The brain loves omega 3 fatty acids. Reduce your omega 6 intake and generously dose omega 3 oils. I have been using MCT oil and fish oil.
    • See a physio and chiro for concussion assessment ASAP. My physiotherapist was able to identify a couple concussion symptoms I was unaware of. I have also benefitted from multiple chiropractic treatments per week.
    • Cut inflammatory foods like sugar, processed carbs, alcohol.
    • Supplements: in addition to the omega 3’s, supplement with creatine, vitamin D, magnesium, and probiotics.
    • Sleep.
    • If you’d like to learn more here is a good resource.
  • Exercise as a Depression Killer: The studies are catching up to what exercise junkies have touted anecdotally: exercise rivals medication to combat mood disorders. Clinical psychologist and professor Dr. Jasper Smits is likely to write you a prescription for exercise to treat your depression or anxiety. But anyone who struggles with these issues knows: this is a catch-22. Mood disorders make it hard to exercise! This is where Dr. Smits uses Jedi mind tools (cognitive behavioral therapy) to get over and stay over this hump. Even if you don’t struggle with mood disorders, this interview with Dr. Smits is full of ideas for how to start and keep exercising for your mental and physical health. Interestingly, Dr. Smits also uses intense exercise as part of an “exposure therapy” treatment, safely exposing clients to the sensations of a racing heart, shortness of breath, etc., but in a non-threatening, health-giving setting. If you want more you can dive into the book he co-authored on this subject: Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being.
  • Canada’s Child Immigration Scheme: I only recently become aware of this troubled part of Canada’s history when I came across this book in the Beehive Artisans Market in Nordegg: The Reluctant Canadian: Inspired by the true story of a Canadian Home Child. According to the Government of Canada, “between 1869 and 1932, over 100,000 children were sent from Britain to Canada through assisted juvenile emigration. These migrants are called “home children” because most went from an emigration agency’s home for children in Britain to its Canadian receiving home. The children were placed with families in rural Canada.” On the surface it was charitable, but it played out differently as the children were used as cheap labor for rural Canadian families. There are many stories of neglect, abuse, death from mistreatment, and suicide. Some estimates suggest 1 in 8 Canadians are descendants of this program. In 2010, the British government made a formal apology to “Home Children”. There are no shortage of resources out there to learn more about this program, but if any of you have recommended reading on this subject please shoot me a note.
  • Crash Course – Virology & Vaccinology: I enjoyed how these professionals tackled the thorny topics of what we know and don’t know about COVID and vaccine effectiveness. Warning: these are long so you’ll want to save them for a long drive (2.5 – 3.5 hours each). I am so thankful for long-form podcasts and the nuanced discussions they allow.
    • Vincent Racaniello on the Lex Fridman Podcast: Vincent is a virologist, immunologist, and microbiologist at Columbia. He is a co-author of the textbook Principles of Virology and co-host of This Week in Virology podcast. This episode covers the fascinating background on viruses and vaccines before getting into COVID specifically. As a bonus, you’ll learn how to avoid parasites while traveling!
    • COVID Vaccine Myths, Questions, and Rumors with Rhonda Patrick and Roger SeheultRhonda Patrick and her FoundMyFitness platform has been a valuable source of health and fitness info to me for years. Vaccines and viruses are not her area of expertise, but sifting through health data is, and she brings in knowledgeable guests to speak to some of today’s biggest questions and concerns about the COVID vaccines and their safety.
  • Concept I’m Pondering: If we are feeling rage towards _______ people, we may be part of a growing problem that is more contagious and deadly than COVID. It means we don’t understand _______ people. Seek first to understand. Can we articulate their position even better than they can? When we understand, we can feel compassion. We’ll know we’re in the right headspace when we can honestly say, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.” Our anger shifts off the people, and on to the root causes of the problem. Now we can get to work addressing the root. Bonus concept I’m pondering: Addressing the root will not be accomplished through data, studies, logic, laws, or politics. It requires our stories, and our art.

Thanks for reading. If you know someone who would like to receive these types of updates I’d appreciate it if you shared it. Should you come across anything noteworthy this week please send it my way!

Yours truly,

P.S. My friend Stefan Vajsabel made this beauty of an edit to highlight his week of Mountain Bike Camp at Frontier Lodge this summer. Check out his Vajsabel Films YouTube channel for more adrenaline-fueled content!

2 thoughts on “Digestable #25: Concussions, Exercise vs. Depression, Child Immigration Scheme, Vax Wars

  1. Hey Jeff
    Always enjoy reading your blog, it is entertaining and very informative. Maybe the excesses of today’s world have gotten to me, but when I read about the book on the child immigration, the first thing that came to mind was, when was it written? Sure enough, it is a recent work and so my spidey senses push me to query whether it is another of the fashionable revisionist works so prevalent today.
    There’s a conspiracy theorist born every minute, and an author willing to nurture them every 59 seconds.
    In reading about the theme all too familiar these days, “neglect and abuse,” I immediately questioned the source.
    In those days, all rural children were, by today’s standards, “abused.” My parents and their siblings worked long, hard days as was necessary, and received some pretty harsh discipline by, again, today’s standards.
    The all too common stories of abuse and neglect these days can only be true if a significant portion of people are abusive and neglectful towards children. I have a hard time believing that.
    I have read some of the “Truth and Reconciliation” reports including the very detailed “Where Are The Children Buried” by Dr. Scott Hamilton, and a very different truth emerges from the politically correct versions being bandied about.
    So to sum it all up, I question the premise of the book. Assuming you have read it through completely by now, did you sense any revisionism or did you feel it was accurate?


    1. Good follow-up points and questions. I haven’t purchased or read this book yet, and I would love to have other sources to compare it to. History is full of times and cultures where we (humans) have been especially good at inflicting harm on each other, and significant portions of people are abusive and neglectful towards children. In the 1800’s in Canada there were pockets of abhorrent behavior (as there still are, now). This doesn’t appear to be “conspiracy”. Something clearly didn’t go as planned given the British government issued a formal apology to the program participants, and according to the Government of Canada website: “It is commonly known that some of the children were abused, and many were poorly treated by today’s standards. Many of those stories have been told and are heartbreaking to read.” Canada has NOT given a formal apology, so it would be useful to have more context. Let me know if you come across quality sources on this program.


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