Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rick Warren's New Age Health Gurus

Here Come the GURU-DOCTORS!

“[Dr. Mark Hyman] combines his training in conventional medicine with cutting edge genetics and nutrition and tells us why and how we should clean up within and without so that we can really perform as ultra human beings. Mark is a 4 time NYTimes bestselling author and Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine which is a very exciting new field, a real paradigm shift in medicine. He has dedicated his career to identifying and addressing the root causes of chronic illness through a groundbreaking whole systems approach that he calls 'functional medicine.' He is also founder and medical director of the UltraWellness Center, he advises Dr. Oz’s Health Corp Group, and he is nominee to President Obama’s Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health.”
Chef Liv Wu's introduction of Dr. Mark Hyman*

When Rick Warren launched his year-long Daniel Plan at a Saddleback Health and Fitness Seminar, he introduced three key doctors that would be working on this agenda with him. The fact that these three doctors are easily identifiable as New Age “guru” type doctors is indisputable. Their own public record is very obvious – each man in one way or another has connected himself with various elements of the New Age. One need only “google” their names to find their connections to activities, practices and personnel at high levels in the New Age movement.

The question might be asked: Why didn’t Dr. Rick pick medical doctors who were Christians? Not nominal Christians, but sincere evangelical Christians! Surely there are highly esteemed, reputable, well-credentialed Christian physicians at the top of their field in various hospitals, universities or medical research laboratories! But Rick Warren picked the Oprah Winfrey type of New Age guru to be his guides with the Daniel Plan – the Hollywood hype type of doctors.

An official "Daniel Plan Pastoral Response" to the question "Why did Saddleback Church choose to use these doctors, who have been linked to other beliefs?" can be viewed HERE. In this classic insipid Warrenesque response it is claimed that these doctors "are in no way advising our church on spiritual matters." But given the fact that these doctors have specialized in integrating their spirituality with their views on medicine and health, this is not an honest answer. (View Daniel Plan FAQ sheet HERE).

Furthermore, these doctors have websites that are hype-driven – one can hardly even gain entry into Dr. Daniel Amen’s website without taking the “Brain Type Test” or jumping through other marketing hoops.

So why the pizzazz? Genuine Christian physicians might be more interested in the spiritual welfare of the sheep, they might be gently prodding about sins such as drunkenness or gluttony in a healthcare model. They might take a stewardship of the body approach. But, rather, the healthcare guru doctors of the Daniel Plan follow the New Age model of healthcare reform. Take Dr. Mark Hyman's plan as described on a YouTube video presentation:

“We have a new model emerging which we call P4 Medicine…”

  1. Personalized: Genetic and environmental variations drive individual treatment
  2. Predictive: Tailored health strategy based on personalized map of health risks with traditional and novel biomarkers
  3. Preventive: Proactive vs. reactive approaches that shifts focus from illness to wellness, from disease treatment to functional enhancement
  4. Participatory: Empowers and engages patient

“[Th]e future of medicine is going to be personalized. It is going to look at your genetics, at your environment and how those variations affect your health in this moment.

The future of medicine is taking the data in your story, which is called Narrativomics – the data in your narrative, in your story – and making the sense… out of the patterns in that. Genomics…. Which is really looking for the patterns in the data….

And it is also preventive because we are going to be able to understand how to best look at a health map on a predictive model by looking at all the data points in your story and in your biomarkers and tracking that forward to see what your health risks are and how to create a personalized plan to help you get health and stay healthy.

And it is also participatory because it means you need to be engaged. Its not just taking a pill that your doctor gives you because you are going to treat some symptom of some disease and not to do anything else except pop that pill. So its very participatory and you have to be an engaged user of health care.”

And the future of medicine is not going to be creating a hypothesis, as we do now, and then doing a study and collecting data, and analyzing the data. It is going to be looking for patterns in the data that already exists, in the patterns in your story, in the patterns in the biomarkers, and using the computational power that we have now to create a model of thinking about disease that sees patterns, and connections and relationships and linkages in ways that we don’t now….

The way we think about disease really is passé. In fact, recently at a conference...the CEO of a drug company said that in the future there will be no more drugs for blockbuster diseases, only drugs for blockbuster mechanisms. And the reason for this is that disease doesn’t exist…. Diseases all appear real but they are simply the downstream effects from upstream mechanisms and causes....

There is no depression
There is no bipolar disease
There is no autism
There is no ADHD
There is no dementia." [1]

The input-driven model of healthcare reform is not a model that treats disease. It is outcome-based healthcare. It is a New Age model that denies the reality of disease and focuses on wellness, as we explained in our earlier post, 3-Legged "Health" Care. Therefore the Daniel Plan is all about what you are putting into your body's system. Note: what you put into your body can be measured and assessed, monitored and databanked.... and controlled.

Dr. Hyman's model of healthcare focuses almost entirely on the brain and genetics, which raises many disturbing questions about his research role in the Daniel Plan. Furthermore, Dr. Hyman extrapolates certain highly specific and credible medical research from cutting edge work on autism, for example the "Gut and Psychology Syndrome", and irresponsibly applies it across the entire spectrum of disease.

Who can afford this guru doctors' healthcare plan? When listening to Dr. Hyman’s presentation, it is patently obvious that only the rich need apply! Who can afford his model of health, which stacks everything up front? The "Daniel Plan Health Grill Menu" includes high-end meals like:

Agave Glazed Salmon Tacos
with Napa cabbage slaw and vine ripe tomatoes served on natural blue corn
tortillas and topped with house made poblano-lime avocado sauce

Lemon & Herb Chicken Wrap
with shaved red onion, shredded lettuce, tomato, Persian cucumber and Greek yogurt sauce served on a zucchini flax Omega wrap

All Natural Grass Fed Organic Beef Burger
with pickled red onions and slow roasted tomato served 'protein-style' sandwiched between two crisp lettuce leaves (fresh baked focaccia roll available upon request).

The suggested retail price for grassfed ground beef is $8.50 per pound. Check out prices and availability of poblano peppers, Greek yogurt, flax Omega wraps, and blue corn tortillas in your local grocery store (if you can even get these items!).

“Inputs” means that people have to watch their diets, eat organically or "naturally," purchase supplements, follow strict dietary and exercise regimens, reduce their stress levels, eliminate caffeine and sodas, etc. The upper middle-class American might be able to afford such a lavish lifestyle, which happens to be politically and environmentally correct. But what about the average family who is simply trying to make ends meet? How can they possibly afford the upfront costs of the “input” healthcare model?

Furthermore, and related to this excessive focus on “inputs,” is the fact that there may be a profit-motive with these guru doctors regarding their corporate interests in supplements and health care accessories! A Daniel Plan report on "Vitamin Supplements" titled "Dr. Mark Hyman takes the guesswork out of vitamin supplements" links over to Dr. Hyman's store where one can buy supplements (see also HERE). Read through Dr. Hyman's recommendations and see how your family budget can manage these expensive supplements.

On the Wikipedia entry for Dr. Oz, under the category “Controversy” one can read of his close association with the pharmaceutical industry in one of his marketing schemes:

"RealAge drug marketing

"Oz is a spokesman and advisor for the website, which The New York Times has criticized for its pharmaceutical marketing practices. The site solicits medical information from visitors to determine a visitor’s biological age and then uses the visitor's medical profile for pharmaceutical marketing purposes. As The Times reporter explained the significance of this fact: "While few people would fill out a detailed questionnaire about their health and hand it over to a drug company looking for suggestions for new medications, that is essentially what RealAge is doing."

At a separate Wikipedia entry for RealAge, which happened to get its big start on the Oprah Winfrey Show, we learn that

“On this website, users typically fill out a questionnaire about their health history, which is then used to generate personalized content, including highly targeted advertisements. Most revenue comes from pharmaceutical companies paying to advertise their drugs to individuals who have taken the website test and become members."[3]

These guru doctors also profit from their involvement with HealthCorps, which is described as,

"...a proactive health movement founded by heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, is fighting the obesity and mental resilience crisis by getting American students and communities across the country to take charge of their health. Our three priorities are: Educating the Student Body– our in-school program to empower and educate youth and faculty about their bodies, their environments and their abilities to affect them.

"Like a Peace Corps for Health, HealthCorps is a national service and peer mentoring initiative. In high schools, HealthCorps 'Coordinators' empower teens in underserved populations to make simple lifestyle changes to enhance their well-being and resilience and take the message to friends, families and neighbors."[4]

It is an old political trick to engage in public advocacy work in order to further one’s corporate causes and fill one’s corporate coffers. The more one advocates, and works the potential market, the more one profits! Once again, the 3-legged stool model of Rick Warren's Daniel Plan is in evidence. The private sector profits while the public healthcare agenda is furthered, and all the while the church is doing the cheerleading.

The connection between these three doctors and Obamacare is yet another issue. We'll look at that later. Meanwhile, remember our faithful and eternal Caretaker. He has a better plan for us, which has nothing to do with vast human agendas and New Age medicine. He tells us,

The Truth:

"Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’"
(Isaiah 41:10)

1. Dr. Mark Hyman’s YouTube video presentation Emphases added. Note that Dr. Hyman is rejecting the scientific hypothesis model! You can see the slides here:
2. The Real Age section, footnote 32 is Stephanie Clifford, "Online Age Quiz Is a Window for Drug Makers", The New York Times, March 25, 2009
3. Footnote 2 to this section is Clifford, Stephanie (25 March 2009). "Online Age Quiz Is a Window for Drug Makers". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 March 2009.

*Chef Liv Wu introducing Dr. Mark Hyman to a Google event, "The UltraMindSolution: Healthy Body, Powerful Mind," November 9, 2010,emphases added,

This article has been significantly updated from its originally published version at This is part of an ongoing series of articles by Berit Kjos and Sarah Leslie. See also "Reiki "Power" and Rick Warren's Health Plan" at