Until 8 years ago I was a faithful paying client of Health Care insurance here in Mexico. The insurance covered pretty much any illness I could possibly contract. Unfortunately, once I reached the age of 65 (I´m now 76), the cost of the policy began increasing a whopping 25% annually. To compensate for the constant increases, I had to increase the deductible. Needless to say it was a vicious cycle that I decided to break 8 years ago. It was also around that time that I switched from a vegetarian to a Whole Food Plant Based Diet (WFPB). That meant sacrificing dairy products, apart from the meat that I had given up 32 years before. To be honest, it wasn´t easy, especially since, as a Mexican resident for 40+ years, eliminating quesadillas (tortillas filled with cheese) from my diet, was for me a monumental decision. You see, quesadillas is as “Mexican pie” as pizza is “American pie”. I understood, at that time, that cancelling the insurance would be a gamble and thoughts of “what if I get very sick” often rumbled through my mind. I did have Mexican Social Security…but only for emergencies. I decided that to give myself the best chance to stay healthy and to avoid costly doctors and expensive hospitals was to boost my immune system by eating WFPB foods. As the years past I became more confident in my decision to follow a healthier lifestyle, especially since I´ve been able to avoid getting ill during these past 8 years. I don´t “knock on wood” because I don´t think it´s luck that has protected me all these years…but what has…are the following healthy lifestyle changes that I made:
1. Consuming Whole Plant Based Foods (I believe
this must be the Foundation of any healthy lifestyle)
2. Doing Moderate Exercise 5 Days per Week
3. Avoiding excessive Stress
4. Getting a Good Night Sleep
5. Having an inner purpose
In the United States, Health Care costs have skyrocketed during the past few decades, so much so, that even with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), close to 30,000,000 citizens still don´t have health insurance…mostly because they can´t afford it. Also, the number of annual bankruptcies resulting from people unable to pay their medical bills is calculated at 4000+. These statistics are discomforting, to say the least, especially when you take a look at other developed countries that have either Universal and/or Free Health care (i.e., Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Spain, Norway, Sweden and Australia). There…everyone is covered and there are 0 bankruptcies. Yes, we can argue that the health care in these countries is of inferior quality…yet globally, the World Health Organization ranks the U.S. Health care system a distant #37 (France is #1). The measurements for the rankings include life expectancy, infant mortality, hospital beds per capita, medical care expenditures per person and fewer deaths related to surgical or medical mistakes.
Maybe one day the United States will have Universal and/or Free Health Care but, from my perspective, that´s not the main problem nor the solution. Why, because Government run Health Care systems, regardless of the country, focus on treating the symptoms of diseases and rarely on disease prevention or reversal. That´s why the title of this post reads…Health Care or Disease Care. People are not only, not informed or educated on how to prevent and/or reverse diseases, but are often denied factual and research based information that could help them consider their options and make conscious health decisions. As a result, there´s a constant dependence on doctor visits, pharmaceutical medications and medical interventions, prescribed for certain diseases that often can be reversed through simple lifestyle changes (i.e., Type 2 diabetes, Heart Disease, Hypertension, Obesity, etc.).
One example of information that is being denied to U.S. Citizens is found within the government´s annual list of top ten causes of death, published by The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is not included is information revealed in 2016 by the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. It stated that physician error, medication error, adverse events from surgery and side effects from drugs were killing 250,000 people per year. Maybe that´s just another number to us but, when put in context, it makes the health care system the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only cancer and heart disease.
That´s pretty astounding information, yet unless you do some research on your own, you´ll never see it on the official charts showing the Leading Causes of Death. Can you imagine why we´re being denied that information? Well, maybe with that information we would be more cautious with regards to the medications that are prescribed or with a procedure that our doctor is recommending. With the right information we become “informed” and that can lead to more options and an opportunity to make the right choices.
WHERE CAN WE FIND THE BEST HEALTH CARE SYSTEM?
The healthiest people on the planet, who also live the longest, rarely suffer and die from the Chronic Diseases that plague people on the Standard American Diet, which is heavily biased towards meat, dairy, eggs and processed and refined foods. They live in rural China and Japan, parts of Africa and the Blue Zones (Okinawa Japan, Sardinia; Italy, Nicoya, Costa Rica, Icaria, Greece and The Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda California). They rely on their own personal health care system, that not only treats the symptoms of illness and disease, but also works 24/7 on prevention and reversal. That system is not sponsored by any government but is found within the body of every person on the planet…and it´s free! However, for it to function, we need to pay more attention to it´s needs, to care for it and feed it the foods that it thrives on. What has worked for me for the past 8 years are the 4 points I mention above. It´s similar to the lifestyle of the healthiest people. It´s really very simple and rewarding…with the prize being optimal health and an overall feeling of wellbeing.