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Prevention – Could This Be An Answer to Our Health Care Woes?

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Do you want change in our health care system? If so, it is critical to start thinking about health care change in the form of preventative action rather than remaining with the Status Quo.

Our current health care system relies too heavily on reactionary treatments that wait until the problem is acute (and sometimes too late) instead of emphasis on changes in lifestyle that would support a preventative system and better health.

When people get sick, what do they do? The normal course is to make an appointment to see the doctor, and get a prescription for medication or antibiotics. It’s less common to hear of someone treating their ailment or disease at home, with real food and natural remedies.

Why is this the case? Our system is built upon the premise that a doctor who gives you medication will be able to “cure” your disease.  But is this really true?  How often do you hear your doctor talking about real food or natural remedies as a treatment for your health problem? The answer is, you won’t hear this as an emphasized way to improve your health because if you were making less trips to the doctor, soon you would start to see a lot of doctors closing their doors.

The medical system as a whole has made consumers feel powerless to take charge of their own health. As a culture, we believe as though we couldn’t possibly have any of our own answers about why our bodies get sick and that we should rely upon treatment by a licensed medical doctor to get well, or we will continue to stay sick. And yet, in our developed nation where we have the “best health care system” available and the “safest food system in the world”, we are still seeing record numbers of disease and illness, and it’s continuing to rise.

As one example, just look at the statistics on the steady rise in obesity in the United States since 1989 – the numbers are staggering.  Heart disease, cancer, auto-immune disease, and other health problems are also increasing at staggering rates. If our current system was effective, wouldn’t these numbers be going down?

How is prevention different than our current system? Let’s take a look:

  • Prevention assumes that everything you do affects your health, which it does. It comes from a holistic approach, rather than than a compartmentalized view taken by allopathic medicine. In other words, allopathic medicine waits until the problem is noticed by the patient and then treats symptoms, not causes. Preventative medicine knows that every day counts in making your health optimal. It considers diet, stress, sleep, physical, spiritual, and emotional needs.
  • Preventative measures are ongoing. They are continual in nature, whereas allopathic treatments are used only when there is a symptom occurring. Many people have health issues and aren’t even aware of it. It can take days, weeks, or years sometimes to notice negative effects of poor lifestyle habits. That is why preventative medicine is so important.
  • Preventative medicine does just what its name implies – it prevents issues from occurring before it happens or lessens the severity of a problem because action is constantly being taken. Allopathic or reactionary medicine doesn’t prevent anything except the body’s reaction to poor lifestyle, and then can cause or exacerbate other issues in the body because everything is connected. Our organ systems are not isolated from one another and when one system is compromised, it puts a strain on the others.
  • The cost of preventative health care is paid incrementally and falls under a “cost of living” item, and is much less compared to costly intervention recommended by allopathic treatment after a condition has gone on for a long period of time.

Political leaders, CEOs of agricultural and food corporations, the government and leaders in health continually praise our food system. They claim that it is the “safest in the world”. In 2007, President Obama talked about how we spend less than 4 cents of every health care dollar on preventative care. The U.S. Preventative Medicine organization praised his appeal for modernizing health care by investing in prevention. But is he just giving lip service?

The main point here is, it doesn’t seem to matter who’s been in the oval office, the correct approach to health is ceasing to be employed. Our health care system needs a recognizable preventative component. We need to see some results from the money we pour into the health care system – not higher numbers of disease and illness.

We need action and leaders who will deliver!

The time has come to address this issue and put pressure on government and health decision-makers about creating a health care system that values and utilizes preventative care for citizens of our country. As long we as rely on pharmaceutical and allopathic care for the primary treatment of health issues and undervalue the importance of lifestyle changes that really work, we will continue to see a rapid decline in the health state of all people, everywhere.

Write letters to your congressmen and women, and to the president expressing how important preventative care in our health care system is to you.

Grassroots are the key to change

It sometimes seems as though the government and legislation will never listen to our concerns. So even though it is important to become active in the larger, political sphere, it’s even more critical to become involved locally wherever you can. Become an activist and make waves in your local community, or run for office. Start a blog and get involved on message boards and social network sites where you can make your voice heard. The only way we will see change in our current system is from people who get involved and want action.

Any prevention plan that works will include eating diet of whole foods and encourages you to avoid processed foods. That means, literally, foods that are as close to nature as possible. If our ancestors didn’t eat it, it’s probably not healthy to consume.

If you have been noticing the proliferation of food recalls in the news lately, it’s because our food system is one of the most dangerous in the world – a system relying upon automation, heat treating, irradiation, pasteurization, genetic modification, and use of dangerous chemicals and other toxins to produce it. If the situation with our industrialized food system doesn’t change, things will only get worse.

That’s one reason why we are seeing disease and illness in such numbers – because of the consumption of processed foods like grains, corn, nuts, soy, pasteurized dairy products, and meats and meat products laden with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and are from animals on feedlots.

To learn more about the health benefits of raw dairy, read The Truth About Raw Milk, Part I and Part II. To learn more about the benefits of meats and meat products that come from animals on pasture, read Whole and Healthy Meat…Does It Really Exist?

For the past 50 plus years, common medical rhetoric tells us to avoid foods with fat and cholesterol – but in doing so, we’ve caused many of the very debilitating diseases and conditions which have become so chronic in our culture. To learn more about which fats are healthier to consume, read Which Is Better For You – Polyunsaturated or Saturated Fats? 

There are many courageous health care practitioners and doctors who are now coming forward and telling the truth about how important fat is to our health and how we’ve been lied to about this for decades and decades. 

Enjoy Eating Saturated Fats, They’re Good for You- video, Dr. Donald W. Miller, M.D.

Heart Surgeon Speaks Out on What Really Causes Heart Disease – Dr. Dwight Lundell, M.D.

Dutch Get it Right and Recognize Saturated Fat Is Not A Problem – Dr. Joseph Mercola

Although a preventative lifestyle will not grant anyone perfect health, it will certainly go a long way toward preventing degenerative disease and illness. A return to traditional, whole foods is the only diet philosophy which supports a truly preventative way of looking at health.

Want to know more about why our current food system is making us sick? Is Cheap Food Really Cheap? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Food

Want more information about healthy foods? Read How Well Do You Know Your Food? Find Out!

Want more information about natural remedies? My Home Medicine Cabinet – What  I Use To Remedy Ailments

For more information about how the role of traditional diets prevents disease, visit the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Activism Real Food

ACTION NOW! An Open Letter to the President And Other Decision Makers Regarding Preventative Health Care

Dear Mr. President and members of Congress,

Most people know the health care system in our country is beyond broke. Even now that the new administration is in place, I’m seeing very little being done to remedy the desperately dire health care conditions in this country. I realize a major system change takes time.

I know things don’t happen overnight. What I’m most frustrated by is the fact that I’ve heard various commentators, political figures, and decision-makers throw the word “prevention” around like it is the latest buzz word of the day and give the subject much lip service…but still nothing substantial is being done. It’s time for these individuals to put their money where their mouths are! And, it’s time for citizens to stop being passive and take action. I say let our voices be heard! Advocacy is important in any critical movement, and this is no exception.

Under the current health care system, citizens have little to no choice about their treatment options. Not much  emphasis, education, nor insurance coverage is allowed for preventative health care. I stress this with great importance: until we gear our health care system toward prevention and move away from what I refer to as reactive care, disease numbers and conditions will continue to increase. This of course means health care costs will also go up.

I want to see alternatives in health offered for coverage by insurance companies – not just drugs and surgery, which I believe have played a major role in causing the ills of people in our nation. Alternatives would include but not be limited to chiropractic, naturopathic, homeopathic, osteopathic, massage, acupuncture, reflexology, hypnotherapy, nutritional therapy, exercise physiological services, and colon hydro therapy.

Almost never do any members of my family see allopathic physicians. When we have health concerns, we see one of the above-mentioned practitioners, and none of these services are covered under our insurance plans except chiropractic – and the coverage is limited. These health care expenses are not affordable, and no one is helping to offset the cost of these goods and services. But I’d still rather spend my money on preventative care that works than wait until something is wrong and then treat it otherwise. It’s a choice I’ve made to ensure better health and provide a better future for my family. This choice I have made because I spent years seeing doctors that neither listened to my problems, nor gave me solutions, nor had any way of dealing with the issues at hand except with drugs and surgery. I’ve gone down that path before, and I say with certainty that I won’t go down it again. Reactive medicine only made my problems worse, whereas preventative and natural care made me well again. Which choice would you make?

We need more advocacy and education on the subject of alternative and preventative health care and nutrition. Too much of our health care system emphasizes use of drugs and surgery for treatment of health care issues after the fact and sometimes when it is too late to save a life. If our system included programs and educational efforts to help teach people about and encourage them to engage in preventative health measures, we would see a noticeable decline in disease and illness. We desperately need a strong movement in advocacy of elimination of processed foods from our primary diets in order to combat disease and promote well-being. Again, very little emphasis is placed on this important component of a health care system that actually works.

Too many people have health care issues they need to take care of – today, yesterday, a month ago, or a year ago – but are crippled by the cost of treatment, and therefore are forced to do nothing.  As unemployment numbers continue to climb, more and more people are losing medical coverage from losing their jobs and being deprived of the income they need in order to cover medical costs and bills in the first place. The unemployment rate has been hovering just under 10 percent – and that’s just what’s been reported by the Labor Department. If this number goes up, 13 million Americans will have lost their employer health insurance since 2007.

Many people could greatly benefit from having the option and ability to participate in alternative and preventative care, to keep their medical conditions from becoming worse. But under the status quo, that is simply impossible. This type of opportunity would not only prevent needless suffering and misery, but would save people thousands and thousands of dollars in future health care problems. We all know the longer we wait to take care of a health issue, the more acute and more expensive it becomes.

We need more than just a dependable plan – we need groups willing to promote and maintain a reliable system that provides a deliverable end result of better health care and ultimately, health for everyone. This system would include educational materials, health care events and consultations with knowledgeable providers, and willingness to use food as medicine as well as herbs and natural treatments for health issues.

If good, reliable coverage was available to the average citizen, health care problems will be addressed before conditions become a serious problem, and in some cases, in plenty of time to eliminate a fatal illness from taking hold and ending someone’s life – such as cancer or diabetes – even heart disease. Coverage for every man, woman, and child should be available, and it should accommodate for the type of treatment specific to the individual’s wants and needs.

As it stands, those insured have no choice but to accept coverage from bloated insurance companies who make money hand-over-fist while at the same time deny pre-existing conditions, refuse necessary treatments, and  increase premiums, co-pays , deductibles and various out-of-pockets costs on an annual basis. These same systems also favor reactive treatments over preventative ones.  How can any of us survive in such a system? We need to stop accepting expensive, reactive care from health care providers who fail to understand the holistic component that is so integral to the improvement of our health as a nation. We must demand that the methods and ways which have been in place for so many years and have brought ill results be altered and geared toward prevention, nutrition, and proactive measures.

Finally, we must demand that emphasis be placed on implementing a truly sustainable health and food system. To start, we would need a program which would allow for all the accountable players in the equation from the agricultural sector to be acknowledged, from removal of components that are causing added health issues and health safety (i.e., factory farms, genetically modified organisms, irradiation, pesticides and other toxins), to follow-through and definitive action from the newly formed Food Safety Working Group.

This, I ask as a hard-working American citizen, taxpayer, mother, and wife for myself, my family, and for all residents of our great nation.

Sincerely,

-Raine J.E. Saunders

Boise, Idaho

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To make your concerns known to the current decision-makers, visit Prescription for Change.

This post is listed on Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays page as part of their carnival of food posts. Visit Food Renegade and take a look at the other good blogs and sites listed there.