Inventing the problem

Lynne McTaggart

Economist John Kenneth Galbraith was one of the first to identify ‘revised-sequence’ markets which, unlike the ordinary consumer-driven variety, are driven by a corporation, which controls the consumer’s attitudes and values and so creates product demand. Or, to put it more simply, they invent the problem to sell the solution.

 Economist John Kenneth Galbraith was one of the first to identify ‘revised-sequence’ markets which, unlike the ordinary consumer-driven variety, are driven by a corporation, which controls the consumer’s attitudes and values and so creates product demand. Or, to put it more simply, they invent the problem to sell the solution.

As American political activist Ralph Nader once remarked, “In any industry, the sellers become very acute in appealing to those features of a human personality that are easiest to exploit. Everyone knows what they are. It’s easiest to exploit a person’s sense of fear . . .”


Drug companies are past masters at this, particularly when it comes to women after the menopause. Through advertising and information drip-fed to the charities they support, Big Pharma has managed to convince every woman over 45 that with middle age and the end of her childbearing comes the inevitable collapse of her bones. Allow menopause to unfold without medical intervention and you face becoming a humpbacked old dowager in your declining years—with a potentially deadly hip fracture to boot. 


Consequently, the medical profession has drummed into women that they can only look forward to healthy old age and strong bones by constantly monitoring bone loss with X-rays and taking some sort of medicine—hormones or drugs like bisphosphonates—to stave off the inevitable.


Tell this to my friend Shelly Lefkoe. Shelly was playing Scrabble with a friend at Starbucks one day in 2006.  She’d dropped a few tiles, and was leaning over a chair to pick them up when she heard a tiny ‘crack, crack.’ Later that day she felt a sharp stab in her chest. When her doctor investigated, he discovered that she’d fractured two ribs. 


The news came as a shock because Shelly was just 56, and no stranger to healthy, active living. She ate healthy organic food, lifted weights regularly at the gym, attended aerobics classes regularly and even took weekly ballroom dancing lessons with her husband Morty.


She consulted a doctor of osteopathy, who ordered a DXA scan to examine the density of her bones. Shelly was in for another shock when he delivered the diagnosis. Her scores showed she didn’t even have the precursor osteopenia, but full-blown osteoporosis. Just a few years into the menopause, her bones were paper-thin, he said, and at high risk of future, more serious, fractures.


At first Shelly found it hard to believe. There was no osteoporosis in her immediate family. Her mother in her late 80s didn’t have it and neither did her father. Her only risk factor was the fact that she’d recently gone on a diet and lost weight.


 “You have to go on Fosamax long-term,” osteopath told her. “My wife is on it.  It’s your only option.”


“I’m not doing it,” she replied. Shelly, a tough-minded New York transplant originally from Brooklyn, had given birth to her two children without so much as an aspirin, and she’d managed her menopause with just the help of a few herbs like black cohosh, and no hormone replacement.


It made no sense, in her mind, to take a drug as a just-in-case measure. And when it came to setbacks, she is, as she put it, “a samurai warrior”, determined not to give up until she’d exhausted every possibility.


After her diagnosis of osteoporosis, friends referred her to a certified nutritionist, who also has a background in chemistry. The nutritionist told Shelly that most people mistakenly believe that bones just need calcium, but many other minerals, including magnesium, potassium and silica, are just as important. She encouraged Shelly to eat plenty of greens, especially spinach, which is rich in potassium, and to regularly consume homemade bone broth made from organic meat bones/

She also put Shelly on a protocol of supplements that included fish oils, multivitamins, full-spectrum minerals, including strontium as a supplement (not the drug), plus coenzyme Q10, vitamin K and vitamin D. Shelly made her own homemade bone stock in large batches. 


Shelly also worked with a trainer to increase her exercise regime. She worked with a trainer who designed a more aggressive weight-lifting routine, which she carried out three times a week before a yoga class. She also attended aerobics classes four or five times a week and continued her weekly dance class.


Slowly but surely she worked up to her present level, using free weights for bicep presses and  tricep presses, heavier weights for chest presses and a 30-lb bar for the ‘skull-crusher’ life.  She also carrie
d out a good deal of Pilates-style core work and made use of an elliptical training machine.


After two years of carrying out her exercise and nutritional regime, Shelly had a repeat scan, which showed an increase in bone density, placing her closer to the category of borderline osteopenia. 


Her last scan, taken in 2012 when she was 62, showed that her bones had strengthened to the point where she registered as ‘low normal’ on the DXA scale. 


Shelly believes that besides the protocol designed by her nutritionist, of equal importance was her belief that it would work—a belief bolstered by the support of her husband and their years of working together on the Lefkoe Method, which aims to change the entrenched and self-destructive beliefs of their clients (


“Morty never had any doubt—he believed with all his heart that it would work and without medication,” she says. “Your belief and a fighting spirit are essential.”


No drugs. No life-long problem. Just good food, a large helping of grit  - and the power of intention.

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Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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