I watched the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead recently.
I have watched a number of movies recently on the subject of health, healthy eating, medicine and the medical establishment, etc. I guess, at the root of it, I am aware that I am not physically healthy, and I wanted to try to get some information to help me figure out why. But, I also heard some things along the way that seem so terribly self-evident once someone says them. Things that had never actually occurred to me prior to hearing them said.
For instance, what is the incentive from the medical practitioner’s perspective, to help me attain and maintain good health?
A doctor only makes money if I am sick. A pharmacist only makes money if prescriptions are being filled. Surgeons only make money if they are performing surgery. Last but not least, drug companies do not make profits off of curing diseases, they make profits off of people taking the same medicines day after day for years, or preferably forever. This was highlighted in a Frontline episode I watched last night on Netflix.
As an example, anti-biotics are a limited use medication. By design they are meant to be taken for a short time. As such, drug companies have by and large discontinued research in to anti-biotics, because they are not profitable. Meanwhile, drug resistant bacteria are popping up all over the place. (I suggest you click on some of these links, your life and the lives of your loved ones hang in the balance.)
What a number of the contributors to these various shows I have watched have pointed out, and what struck me most, was that we eat all manner of junk, sit around doing nothing, abuse alcohol, smoke, etc., and then we get sick. So we go to a doctor and he/she prescribes a medication. Often these medications have side effects. Many times the side effects are worse than the condition they are treating. Often the side effects are treated with yet another medication. Before you know it, you’re on 6 different pills. When what you really need is a better diet and some form of exercise.
As I get older I am suffering the consequences of a life lived without concern for these things. I am constantly tired. I am overweight. I struggle with things that used to come easily. I have the “aches and pains” associated with “aging”. The problem is, I think that as a society we simply accept these “aches and pains” as the natural course of events. Many of us give no thought to the possibility of growing older without them. I am officially removing myself from that group of people.
I think one of the things that is key to succeeding at anything is a realistic assessment of what you your abilities are. One of the primary reasons people fail on diets is that they try to alter a lifestyle in 24 hours. They remove things that are difficult to remove, like sugar and caffeine. They stick with it for a little while until the discomfort overwhelms them, and then they give up. I am not taking that approach.
The suggestion that hit home for me was to *add* things rather than remove them. Eat better in stages and let the bad stuff fall away as you become accustomed to the good things. Basically, to increase the percentage of food and drinks you consume that are adding enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and micro nutrients to your body. Here are some of the simple things I have implemented over the past couple of days.
I now snack on carrots and celery sticks rather than chips.
Normally, if I were making burgers for dinner I would have 2. Last night I made one burger on wheat bread, and a cup of kale replaced the second burger.
I drink…a lot. I suspect I am diabetic, and my mouth is constantly dry. But I have replaced soda and iced tea with water and 100% fruit juice. As in, the orange juice bottle lists just one ingredient, orange juice. I have also begun to experiment with juicing and the making of smoothies, but it’s going to be awhile before I find the right combinations. In the meantime, I am eating things that aren’t as yummy to me in liquid form as they are in solid form.
I have decided that in the spring I am going to scale back the garden, but I am still going to grow some of my own fresh vegetables. I have also talked with my wife and we are going to become regular customers of the local farmer’s market, which has been just down the street from me for years.
They say that real change is made when the pain of moving is exceeded by the pain of staying still. I am at that point.
This will not be a fad or a phase. I’m going to permanently alter what I eat and how much I eat. Exercise is a bigger challenge, but I am in the process of figuring out how and what to fit in to my schedule. With an eye towards what is actually attainable, and not what I can convince myself of for the short-term.
I encourage everyone to watch these films, consider your own health and lifestyle, and make positive changes in 2015.
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. But “weight loss” is not my goal. Being healthy is my goal. Weight loss will be a natural result of that.