Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cheap, Tasty Medicine and No Prescription Necessary!

I've said it before, I'll say it again, here in Canada and, indeed, in most Western countries, we do not have a health care system, we have a sick care system. It seems, at least from where I am standing, that the vast majority of resources directed towards human health focus solely on how to treat diseases and conditions once a person has become sick, rather than focusing on how we can avoid getting sick in the first place. Oh sure, there are the public service messages to remind us to get our 60 minutes of daily activity and government-issued guidelines on what is supposedly healthy to eat (I take major issue with these guidelines, but will discuss that in a separate blog post), but really, there's not a lot of money or research being invested in preventative medicine.

This past summer my friend, Raeanne, was visiting PEI and I was grilling her about the holistic nutrition program, as she had enrolled in it during the spring and I was planning to start my studies. I cannot recall the context of what she said to me, but I clearly remember her saying 'Just wait until you get through Fundamentals, it just all becomes so clear.' And I didn't grasp what she meant until perhaps the last three weeks, as I made my way through the chapter on Vitamins, having covered off Water and the macronutrients (Fats, Carbs & Proteins).

Suddenly, everything crystallized in my head, and it became plain as day to me that the saying "Let Thy Food be Thy Medicine" is the single BEST piece of advice any person seeking to be live a healthy life could ever receive. It turns out that Mother Nature designed foods to not only to help us grow and give us energy, but also to protect us from all sorts of physical and mental ailments.

Maybe this doesn't seem like such a revelation to some. We've all heard the saying 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away', and it's hard not to notice the rows upon rows of vitamin bottles that line the drugstore shelves. Food marketers have certainly jumped on the bandwagon, making all sorts of health claims about their processed, sugary products that have been fortified with this or that. So, in some sense, perhaps there's a vague acknowledgement that food and health are connected, but I think most people must be missing the boat.

What occurred to me as I was reading through the chapter on vitamins, was that there seem to be growing reports of certain conditions such as diabetes, depression, anxiety, autism, cancer, etc. Could it be, just possibly be, that some of these conditions are resulting from a diet that is deficient in fresh, wholesome foods that have Nature's medicine enclosed, while at the same time being overly abundant in sugary, processed, refined foods that actually deplete our body of vitamins that it requires in order to function optimally.

It seems like it's all about taking drugs to manage these diseases and conditions. That's great for the pharmaceutical companies, but what about the person taking the drugs? What about his/her family, who may have to be a caretaker?

We need to start taking responsibility for our own health, for the health of our communities, and the health of our society.We aren't being responsible as a society when we allow giant food companies to market Fruit Loops and McDonald's cheeseburgers to children. We aren't being responsible to our community, when we ignore the fact that many of our farmers are dousing the land, our water supply, and our food with chemicals. We aren't being responsible to ourselves when we choose to guzzle pop instead of water, or chomp on chips instead of carrots.

My thoughts about public 'health care' are quite difficult to sort through, but I do believe that our current systems of 'health care', whether private or public, are failing us as a society. And many of us are failing our future selves too, with the choices we make or don't make. I think that by the time I am of that age that most people seem to start suffering from degenerative diseases, the medical system that we have today will have imploded unto itself. Unless we wake up now and start taking care of ourselves each and every day, I reckon the individual and collective abilities of the human race will devolve. Our bodies and brains were designed to run on real food, and if we instead choose to feed them with fake foods and drugs, we will never, ever live up to our potential.

I didn't intend for this to be a sombre blog post. I suppose I can't help but be disheartened by all the glaring signs that we are not only killing our planet with the terrible choices we are making individually and collectively, but we are also diminishing the potential for future generations to realize their grandest dreams.

Next time, I promise I'll write an uplifting post. In the meantime, I implore you to find yourself a farmer and make friends with him/her, then ask if you can perhaps buy some real food, you know, stuff that comes directly from the ground or the pasture and never passes through a factory or laboratory. Then thank that farmer for saving your future self from years of lower quality, disease ridden life and then, finally, thank your self for investing in the best medicine available on this planet. And miracle of miracles, the medicine tastes amazing. Mother Nature knew exactly how to get us to 'take our medicine'.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Now you know why I have become such a zealot! Welcome to the club Shannon