My husband came home the other day with an article from Time magazine titled Why Food Could Be the Best Medicine of All.
It’s a fabulous article recognising food to be medicine and more powerful than drugs; as a good friend who is also a scientist said to me; ‘We cannot drug ourselves to health’.
One particular part of the article noted that eating healthy is not always available or affordable, but that hospitals and physicians in parts of the US are taking action to break down these barriers to improve their patients’ health. In some cities, hospitals have worked with local grocers to provide discounts on fruits and vegetables when patients provide a prescription written by their doctor.
What a brilliant idea!
Spend Time and Money on Your Health Right Now
In Australia, the tax payer via the government spends just under $12 billion dollars a year on drug subsidies. If we divide that by the 25 million people who live in Australia that means that around $480 per person, per year is subsidised in the prescribing benefits scheme (PBS).
If you are a family of five that keeps themselves healthy, does not go to the doctor unless a stitch is called for or a broken bone needs fixing, and has no need for medications (that’s my family) then the financial benefit to you would be $2400 per annum extra to spend on healthy food. I know that doesn’t seem a lot for a family at just $46 a week extra for food, but what if you took that amount or even half that amount and purchased seedlings to create a vegetable garden in your backyard?
Last week I purchased $75 of seedlings, which will fill an entire two rows of my garden. That means that in 6 weeks I will have more food than my family can consume.
With that extra money, one week you could buy a fruit tree (they are forever giving) and then the next week, purchase a couple of chickens who will eat your food scraps, clean out your garden when it’s needed and in turn give you eggs every day. And the next week, you could buy more seedlings, and then another fruit tree…I’m sure you get the picture. With that $2400, you could produce a healthy crop that just keeps going.
It’s not hard and it’s not expensive to maintain a vegetable garden and if you think you don’t have time, then perhaps priorities about where you spend your time are completely wrong. Remember, if you don’t spend some time and money on your health right now, then you will have to spend a lot of time and money on illness later.
Imagine preparing a garden with your family and watching it grow and every night being able to go out into your garden or onto your veranda (things can grow in pots too) and pick food for your dinner. And, by the way, chickens make fantastic pets.
Look After Your Own Health
The Time article went onto say: “The idea of food as medicine is not only an idea whose time has come” says Dr Daruiush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and the dean of the Friedman School of Nutritional Science and Policy at Tufts University, “it’s an idea that’s absolutely essential to our health care system.”
In other words this is vital for the health care system which last year in Australia cost the tax payer $170 billion, $70 billion up from just 10 years ago. The health or sickness of the Australia people is growing at a cost of $7 billion a year. I’m not sure that this is sustainable. It’s important that as individuals we begin to look after our own health.
As of 1st April 2019, in its wisdom (or stupidity), the government decided that the following natural therapies will be excluded from private health insurance general treatment and will no longer receive the private health insurance rebate as part of a general treatment policy: Alexander technique, aromatherapy, Bowen therapy, Buteyko, Feldenkrais, Western herbalism, homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, naturopathy, Pilates, reflexology, Rolfing, Shiatsu, Tai Chi, and yoga. The reason being that there is not enough science behind these modalities.
I for one use yoga, reflexology, homeopathy and kinesiology. I also have private health. I can’t leave the private health system because my medicare levy would rise substantially. So I’m in a catch 22 situation where I don’t use my private health cover because it no longer covers the modalities of health care I use and I don’t use the medicare system unless I’m in a crisis – for instance my last visit was glass in my hand that I couldn’t get out nor could my husband; it had been in there 8 weeks before I decided my body couldn’t get rid of it.
I wrote to Amanda Stoker, Liberal National Senator for Queensland, asking her to reconsider the change to rebates and got a blanket email back blaming the opposition. Argh! (See below for a way to add your voice to the growing number who have raised concerns about this change).
Having said all that, it’s not going to be a government that changes the health outcome of the people; both political parties are given hefty contributions by pharmaceutical companies and we all know that we cannot drug ourselves to health. It seems the Australian government continues to do the same thing and expect a different result – and that’s the definition of insanity.
I know this for sure: I can’t change the system and if I don’t look after my health and that of my family then I can’t expect anyone else to do so.
Don’t Just Do Health, Be Health
Although I’m using this article as a way of getting my frustrations out, I’ve done all I can with regards to the political arena. I choose to work on my health while I’m healthy rather than when I’m sick.
After all it’s not what you do the night before a race or a competition, it’s what you do over the long term that makes the difference. Studies are showing that long term health is from long term healthy habits. Being healthy is a mindset that engulfs every part of your being including relationships, screen exposure, what you feed your mind, communications, food, movement, thoughts, light, sun, sleep, holidays, protection from EMFs, weekends. Many people are doing health but not being health.
Doing health is thinking you have to go to the gym, you have to eat a certain food, you have to drink good water, but being health is the very essence of who you are and how you treat yourself, your family, friends, animals and the planet.
How I change a government, a system, a tyranny, is by being aware of all my purchases, not only when it comes to food, but clothing, homewares, vehicles, household cleaners, as well as being aware of the amount of plastic I purchase. As I look around my desk, it’s filled with plastic (pens, lippy, phone case, clip, land line, desk, ear phones, speakers, cords, bottle top and so much more), so this is not the easiest change to make.
Being aware is number one – becoming educated and changing habits step by step, bit by bit, habit by habit may just cause that tsunami of change that we are all looking and hoping to see in our life time.