Healthcare reform has certainly been a topic of discussion these last few years. Bringing the country to its knees, worried about what in the world is going to happen to their insurance or if they’ll be considered criminals because they can’t afford insurance. It is by all means crazy making and not contributing to our wellbeing at all. It appears as if we’re focusing our attention on who’s paying for what rather than what are the best options available to assure optimal health; a very interesting approach indeed. What happened? Have we really become a society more willing to mindlessly invest in things for instant gratification rather than in our own physical wellbeing?
To me, healthcare reform definitely means an improved approach to managing our health and wellbeing. However, how does it serve us to worry about the money; or, for that matter, turn our healthcare choices over to people that DO NOT live in our body? It’s time to take a stand, get educated and find the support necessary for healthy, holistic living.
Now there’s a word; holistic. It’s enough to make many people run the other direction unfortunately because they interpret it to mean such things as new age quackery, airy fairy, voodoo, and more. On the contrary, holistic healthcare is none of these things and in fact means to treat the body as a whole, giving attention to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual happiness. Typically, a practitioner assesses and treats the immediate symptoms while looking for the underlying cause of the illness. Treating oneself in this manner can be done with one doctor / practitioner or several. It’s up to the patient how they’d like to care for themselves. Quite frankly, it’s not in your interest to stick with one modality because each one has a different approach, and in order to get full coverage, you want to look for the best combination.
These days, many allopathic doctors are opening up to the concept of holistic health and inviting their patients to consider other avenues, which is great news for us because in their own way, the medical community is giving us permission to pursue our health. However, I ask you, do we really need their permission to make our health a priority? This is a very powerful question. Think about it. It’s your life, your wellbeing; yet, we wait for someone else to tell us what to do and when. Sadly, too many people stop once they’ve been given the ‘green flag’ because nine times out of ten, they received the prescription to manage their symptoms and, now that they feel better there is no reason to do anything else! Therefore, holistic health becomes an after- thought until the symptoms return or get worse. On the other hand, if we were to take the initiative and follow through on working with the whole body, we could actually develop a new lifestyle that promotes wellness as a lifestyle. How cool is that?
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Hmmmm..medications; now there’s a love hate relationship. They do have their place in this world; quieting symptoms, clearing up infections, protecting us from diseases; although not without their down sides. Are you aware that there are some severe consequences to taking these drugs? Besides the obvious laundry list of side effects, they also rob the body of (or increase the need for) vital nutrients. Take for instance some of the most common medications taken: acetaminophen, ibuprofen and antibiotics; great for symptom relief; yet, over time their side effects span much more than the basic nausea, headache, fluid retention, etc. You see, medications with acetaminophen deplete the body of glutathione; probably the most important anti-oxidant to our overall health. It plays a vital part in our defense system; neutralizing toxins and carcinogens in addition to manufacturing and repairing DNA, synthesizing prostaglandins, producing protein production and transporting amino acids.
Ibuprofen affects our need for folic acid which is a B vitamin. This nutrient is essential for the production of red blood cells, DNA and RNA. Research also suggests it’s fundamental role with the prevention of heart attack, stroke and cancer.
These are two very common OTC’s. How often do you take one, the other or both?
As for antibiotics, they increase our need for the vitamin B’s including Riboflavin and Thiamin responsible for helping our body turn food into energy, producing red blood cells, supporting our immune system (fascinating) and nervous system. They also interfere with the bacterial flora in our intestinal system. The one powerhouse of an antibiotic ~ Cipro, also depletes our system of zinc which participates in over one hundred enzymatic reactions helping to metabolize carbohydrates, synthesize proteins as well as move carbon dioxide. It also keeps the bones strong and strengthens our immune system (again, fascinating).
Are antibiotics necessary? Absolutely. My son was in the hospital with a systemic staph infection and there is no way he’d be here without the degree of treatment he received. Were there side effects? I’m certain there were; the management of his illness took over a year and knowing what I know now, we certainly could have probably improved his recovery ten-fold had we taken a holistic approach which would have included an enhanced nutritional program.
That’s right, nutrition is a major component to holistic living AND it doesn’t cost anymore than a trip to the grocery store. Does eating a healthy diet cost more? It might which takes us back to investing in ourselves. In learning to eat intentionally rather than mindlessly, we stand the chance of offsetting the cursed side effects and shortening the amount of time we need to take meds or miss work. How much does it cost someone to stay home sick? What do the meds cost us? Consider, the cost to anyone not giving attention to their nutritional needs may actually come at the end of their life. Don’t care about how long you’ll live? Well I’m curious, does the quality of your life count for something and what about the impact to your family? These are all costs to be measured.
My grandmother died from complications due to Alzheimer’s five years ago. The death certificate shows the cause of death to be the result of Anorexia. A rather interesting claim knowing the number of medications she was taking prior to her passing. Yes, there were several physical breakdowns within her body and again, having learned what I’ve learned about the impact of our pharmaceuticals, I boldly say, her body was starving for attention as are so many others. Had her attendants taken the time to understand and feed the nutritional side effects, her final days may have been a far more enjoyable transcendence.
As we make plans for the coming year, maybe it’s time to include setting goals for giving ourselves some much deserved attention promising a far healthier experience while here.
About the Author:
Health Coach / Advocate & Aromatherapist
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