Sunday, July 5, 2009

Want Affordable Healthcare? Eat Well!

So much is about food, you know.

How we spend our money, how we spend our time, how good we feel is, in large part, connected to food. "Follow the money" is the adage to find what drives business ventures. I would say "follow the food" if you want to guage the state of your health ~ or even your bank account.

That's why I've chosen to write about it. I'll write about what's good to eat, the emotional struggle to avoid what's bad, and how to simplify that part of your life.

This is my first blog ~ so I'm going to devote a bit more space here to frame why I think our relationship with food is so terribly important. Just look at the debate surrounding health care. The scurry on Capital Hill to craft a workable health care plan has been framed as the tip of our economic sword. If lawmakers don’t come up with an effective plan, they say we’ll drain all available buckets for social security, education, and on down the line.

Yes, sick people need access to care ~ but how much care can we afford? Keep in mind that even if everyone had access, the nation barely has enough physicians to treat those who are insured now.

The issue, basically, is how do we give sick people what they need to get well? But there’s also an overarching issue ~ Why are so many Americans getting so sick in the first place? In the best of worlds, energy and dollars would go towards preventing illness and maintaining good health.

But our medical system isn’t set up that way. If it was, medical insurance would handsomely reimburse for prevention programs and practices.

Culturally speaking, it’s another matter. It’s about how we live. In that respect, individually we have more control than we realize. In this country, food is central to that. In most other cultures, people eat to live. Here, we live to eat.

The food industry has largely promoted that. In his recent book, “The End of Overeating”, Dr. David Kessler says what’s put in food fuels the desire to keep eating it. Basically, those addicting ingredients are salt, sugar and fat. Add to that the chemical overlays that can replicate any taste to enhance those reward feelings that make us want more, and we’re hooked.

You may stave off quite well during the day, because that’s when most people are busiest. But come quitting time, it’s hard to resist heading to the fridge for something tasty, turning on the TV and then parking on the couch. Those who eat lunch out may be looking forward to fries midway through the morning.

Is it because they lack will power? No. That’s where people beat themselves up way too much. What’s really going on is your cells are depleted of energy you that could be getting from food in a purer state. As a result, you feel worn out and totally unmotivated to choose broccoli over chips.

The motivation has to be there first. So consider this. Modern medicine can’t restore you to health if you’re eating junk. No amount of access to medical care is going to make you feel better until you begin paying attention to what you put into your body.

And it’s defeating to make being thinner the first goal. That will come as you get healthier. Getting healthier should be the first goal. And that process can begin with your very next bite.

Regardless of what’s decided in Washington, it’s going to take awhile to roll out a revamped health care program. In the meantime, there’s a veritable pharmacy right there in the fresh produce section of your grocery store.

That’s affordable health care. Now let's make the most of it!


nlofholm said...

I look forward to reading more.
In the meantime, don't forget that pharmacy at the local farmers markets. It's frustrating to live in the middle of farms and orchards and to find peaches, tomatoes and cherries in loal stores that are trucked in from across the country or from other countries.
I always go local when possible.

Sheri said...

I guess it goes back to the old adage, "You are what you eat..."

Thank you for such great information.

Debi said...

Thank you for a great post, I look forward to following your Blog. And thanks to Mardy, for pointing it out to me. I've been on my soapbox for months about this same topic. Western medicine is so focused on treating the symptoms rather than attacking the cause. And it all starts in our kitchens.

GnatsEyebrow said...

I found out about your blog on Facebook through Lumigrate Webucation. I look forward to reading more of your stuff.

~ Mitch