Most people lead rather ordinary lives, built around family, job, church and hobbies. This is fine for most. The need to pay the bills leads many to engage in work that is unfulfilling, boring and stifling. That so many people work at energy sapping employment should be a motivating factor in seeking entrepreneurial opportunity. Sadly, most people are totally risk averse and eliminate themselves from the potential rewards available almost exclusively to entrepreneurs.The perceived risk taker (the entrepreneur) is, in actuality, not the real risk taker. The real risk taker is the person willing to work a dull job, for average pay, letting life fly by without ever knowing the excitement of being in the fray. This person leaves life without ever having made a mark. Looking back on a journey that did not include excitement, change and risk would seem to reflect an empty, unfulfilled life lived.Entrepreneurs crave change, excitement, competition and risk, understanding that these are the defining hurdles to be overcome if success is to be achieved. The ability to test oneself against the overwhelming mass of competitive opportunities available in the marketplace is a narcotic to serial entrepreneurs. They might not always succeed, but they will always try.Most new products are developed from an entrepreneur’s life experience. The hundreds of new product ideas I review each year are overwhelmingly skewed to hobby: pet, cosmetic, sporting goods and children’s products. And overwhelmingly, these offerings can be described as having a fun component.Would it surprise you to know that the toy industry is 60% smaller than the pet product market? It did me! However, I have seen a dynamic at work in many product categories that I think explains this surprising number. I call it “Passion for Fun”. Golfers, hunters (and fisherman) and pet owners are among the most passionate people I interview. They are intensely immersed in all aspects of their passion. Maybe toy manufacturers are not making hot new toys, or parents are spending more money on educational products, but I know parents love their children. They just are not passionate about toys.An avid outdoorsman will buy any and every product that might potentially provide them an edge when hunting or fishing. More strikes for a fisherman, closer and clearer shots for a hunter, more fish caught and more game killed is the goal of every sportsman. They are passionate about their sport and keen to know of any product that will increase their success and their fun.Pet owners are every bit as passionate about their animals. Sharing one’s home with an animal is a statement of commitment, sharing and passion in itself. Pet toys, exercisers, top grade foods, and even vitamin enriched bottled waters are huge sellers to pet owners as they pamper their animals. The joy pet owners receive from sharing their lives with a loved pet is highly rewarding. Watching a child play with a puppy, or kitten, is one of parent’s most valued memories.Golfers share the same commitment to expanding their enjoyment of every aspect of the golfing experience. I review more golf products every year than any other single category. In every instance, the entrepreneur believes they have developed a product that will improve golf performance, lower scores and increase the play experience. These entrepreneurs are always golfers with passion, looking to provide an edge through the unique features contained in their invention.Passion for fun entrepreneurs, because of the love they have for their hobby or sport, provides products that represent joy to them. It is so much easier to succeed with a product that screams leisure, happiness or fun. The ability to build an exciting new product opportunity that provides a fun feature and benefit to an area of passion is a dream come true for these entrepreneur’s.My father worked a dead end job. He was intensely unhappy that life had passed him by (his words). He told me as a young man, “do something that is fun, not work”. Work and fun mean different things to different people. Some people are happiest at work, no matter the type of work: it identifies them. Invariably this type of person is an entrepreneur. They enjoy the work because they own the business.Most people, however, would rather make a living from “fun” work. Working as a golf pro, sportscaster, artist, writer, personal trainer or coach are just a few jobs that many people would describe as fun and rewarding. Most of the products that I review, and that succeed in the marketplace, offer features and benefits providing a way to deliver more fun to passions and hobbies.I do review many work-related products, as well. Many of these have huge potential. The ability to provide an advance in wellness, technology or e-commerce can be hugely lucrative. As a capitalist I love these projects. Nevertheless, the real fun and passion I view when working with hobby, fun related products is usually absent from industrial inventions.Novel hobby and sport related products are often more easily conceived, easier to patent and trademark and more easily designed and manufactured than most industrial products. The capital required to launch a pet exercise toy can be a fraction of a mechanical tool or technology. Often times, we utilize the inventor of a fun product as the branding spokesperson for the item. The passion for fun that the entrepreneur has vested in their product is contagious and transfers to greater sales and believability.When aspiring entrepreneurs are seeking a product to create and market we strongly advise that they look around the house or garage. What is their true passion? What provides enjoyment, happiness and a feeling of contentment? When they scrap book, assemble model planes, play chess, golf, swim, or read, is there something that they often think would improve the experience. This is the surest way to discover potential opportunity in an area of great interest. You can invent that new product, and it will be rewarding to you and every user as your entrepreneurial career commences.
Has the link to the leaky gut and autoimmune disease become more clear? I believe it has and researchers from Canada have helped by a nice review on intestinal permeability in the British journal Gut.Dr. J. B. Medding and his colleagues in Edmonton, Alberta Canada (Arrieta, Gut, 2006) describe how the intestine serves as a barrier when normal but becomes a source of the genesis of autoimmune diseases when it becomes abnormally permeable. That is, when your gut becomes leaky (“the leaky gut syndrome”) several autoimmune diseases are known to occur.Intestinal permeability (how leaky the gut has become) can be evaluated in a manner specific to various sites in the gut. That is, the different areas of the gut, from stomach to large intestine, can be evaluated by specific tests for leakiness and related to damage and disease in those areas. Areas of leaky gut can be observed prior to the onset of disease and appear to be involved in the development of disease, especially autoimmune diseases like Celiac disease, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, as well as skin diseases like atopic dermatitis, rheumatologic conditions, and even irritable bowel syndrome.The authors propose a new paradigm consisting of “three main features…(1) A genetically susceptible immune system (the mucosal immune system), that allows the host to react abnormally to an environmental antigen.(2) An environmental product that triggers the disease process.(3) The ability for the environmental agent to interact with the mucosal immune system. Since the purpose of the epithelial barrier is to keep these two factors separate, and we measure this function of the barrier by permeability, the corollary of this is that an increase in permeability is a requirement for disease expression.”What does this mean in lay terms and in relationship to the concept of the leaky gut syndrome? The gut or intestine is supposed to be a barrier to foreign proteins like foods and bacteria. If your immune system is genetically predisposed to react adversely to a certain food proteins and/or bacteria in your gut (or nerves, skin or joints) you may react with activation of damaging chemicals intended to protect you from foreign invaders that instead damage your gut making it more leaky and more vulnerable as well as your nerves, skin, and joints.Leaky gut begets leaky gut. What results is more damage to your gut. Food and bacterial proteins can act together to damage the gut and allow toxic protein complexes to get through the gut that is normally supposed to be resistant to such a breach. Once in your blood stream, foreign proteins may initiate abnormal reactions that cause irritation to your brain, nerves, skin and/or joints.What many of you and I experience then are symptoms such as abdominal pain and bloating, gas, diarrhea, headaches, nerve pain, skin rashes and joint aches. The diagnoses that result are Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, migraines, attention deficit, autism, depression, eczema, acne, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, chronic fatigue etc. etc.What really concerns some of us with personal and professional experience with this and who are passionately interested in this area is that there is an explosion of autoimmune diseases occurring right under our nose yet most doctors and lay public are missing the connection. Many people are being diagnosed with multiple conditions without anyone making the connection of the overload of our gut with certain foods that may be causing much of these illnesses. All of the problem foods have specific food proteins or lectins that are difficult to digest and potentially toxic to the gut. In particular if the food has been genetically engineered or modified their lectins may be more toxic to humans. Stay tuned for more on this exciting area, as I continue writing on the relationship of food, gut and disease. As your food doctor, the food doc, I hope to help you find the information you need to eat right to feel right even if your doctors are not making the connection.Bibliography:Arrieta MC, Bistritz L, Meddings, JB. Recent advances in clinical practice. Alterations in intestinal permeability. Gut 2006;55:1512-1520.