Blog Post Series Disease Exercise Nutrition Personal Growth
Chronic disease runs rampant, particularly in Western culture, primarily as a result of poor lifestyle choices. Medical professionals tend to focus more on treating symptoms of sickness and disease rather than promoting greater health and wellbeing through lifestyle behavioral change. Throughout this series of blog posts, you will learn important facts you need to know to preserve and improve your health and wellbeing.
Despite the fantastically wealthy and free society in which we (currently) live, and the tremendous medical technology we have access to, Americans of all ages are not getting healthier.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, "In 2018, 51.8% (129 million) of civilian, non-institutionalized adults had been diagnosed with at least 1 of 10 selected chronic conditions." In fact, 27.2 of Americans had two or more chronic conditions.
That means that OVER HALF of adult Americans have at least 1 chronic medical condition.
The term Gross Domestic Product refers to the total economic productivity of our entire nation. In 2018, the US GDP is reported to be $20.16 trillion.
Our "healthcare system" currently consumes 17.7% of our entire US gross domestic product. This means that of all the monetary revenue generated in our economy, almost 18% comes from the healthcare sector.
Of this 18%, the vast majority of spending is related to sickness care, surgery, complications of medical care and treatments, and the management of chronic diseases. In reality, it appears that "healthcare" in America is really "sickness care and management."
The training we receive as medical professionals revolves around sickness and seems to assume that sickness and disease is the natural course of being human. We are trained as if getting sick is going to happen and we don't really know what is causing this.
In this blog, I am going to teach you that there is an overwhelming amount of scientific information that clearly shows us what the main causes of disease are. Throughout this series of blogs, I'll also show you what I believe to be the most important facts you need to know to preserve and improve your health and wellbeing.
This blog series is meant to help you LIVE better... to achieve a greater sense of wellbeing.
Getting healthier and experiencing greater wellbeing is generally simple. But (and there always seems to be a "but"), it is not usually easy. The principles of health living are basic: eat foods that show up in nature; drink clean water; move your body a lot; and think upon things that make you feel well. These principles are not my principles... they've shown up in religious, philosophic, and scientific writings throughout history. If these principles are so widely known, then why are we not able to DO them?
The answer to this question is complex and more philosophically driven than would be useful to discuss here.
The relevant question is this: How can we begin to DO the things that make us feel better.
If you're just starting your "better health journey" then I recommend you first start with your assumptions and beliefs about health and food.
Here are Four simple steps... steps designed to get you thinking in a positive direction.
First, I want you to ask the question, "Where does disease (or fatigue, anxiety, pain, or just not feeling well) really come from?"
Whatever answer your brain starts to provide should NOT be judged. This just reveals how you were taught to think about your health and wellbeing. Your answers to this question, "why don't I feel well every day" will show you what assumptions you are making about your health, your mindset, and how your health status connects to the daily decisions you make.
If you want to improve your health and wellbeing you MUST make a connection between your behaviors (behaviors are really just your ideas that lead to decisions and actions) and the health and wellbeing outcomes you are getting.
Do you believe that it is NORMAL to be well? Or, do you tend to believe that it is normal to gradually experience a decline in health, energy, and vitality over time?
Do you believe it is NORMAL to need prescription medications as you age? Are you surprised when you meet an "old person" who doesn't take any medications?
Do you believe that disease and sickness just happen or could it be that "disease is of man's own building." (J.H. Tilden, MD)
Think of your ideas as clues to your true perspectives and beliefs about your health and wellbeing... and these beliefs will cause you to make decisions that will create your future health and wellbeing.
Think of health like a tree and soil. A fruit bearing tree has vibrant leaves and a strong trunk and branches; invisibly underground are the roots, fully embedded in the surrounding soil.
The leaves and the fruit are the RESULT of the soil environment.
Now, think about your body in a similar way. Your skin, weight, and sense of vitality are the END outcome of your "soil" and what your "roots" are getting!
The soil of your life is the food you eat, the air you breathe, the people you spend time with, and everything else in your physical environment. All of these will ultimately impact your body's physical and mental state.
And YOU can control almost all these external factors! And you can control 100% of the mental factors!!
One key to optimal health is optimal physiologic function. Meaning this: we experience health and vitality when the body is working properly at the level of the cell. When all the chemical reactions of the body (physiology) are working properly, the body is healthy and YOU FEEL WELL!
Unfortunately, our modern processed food diet does NOT provide what our bodies need for optimal function. First, modern foods tend to lack the natural compounds that living, whole foods provide for optimal physiologic function.
Second, modern diets tend to cause an inflammatory state in the body.
Inflammation is a physiologic response to disease and is essentially a mechanism of chemical defense that the immune system uses. The high sugar and carbohydrate content of modern diets has been shown to feed bacteria in the gut causing an abnormal balance of bacteria within the gut.
These gut bacterial imbalances ultimately can trigger a low grade inflammation throughout the body. And this chronic inflammation damages physiologic processes ultimately leading to the development of chronic diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and even depression.
The simplest way to think about a healthy food environment is to ask the question: Did my great-grandmother eat it?
Now, it is important not to overthink this question. The question is a screening tool to help you become aware of what you are eating and the likelihood that what you are eating may benefit or harm your health over time.
If my great-grandmother could NOT have eaten the food that I am about to eat, it is probably because the food that I am about to eat DID NOT EXIST back then! For example, she never could have eaten a frozen burrito or a snack cake. These things did not exist back then... and they did not exist because food engineering and processing (food science) did not exist back then!
I want to be very clear here: this does NOT mean that you must only eat plants. It means that the food that we eat BECOMES part of our body. Eat living food for a living body... this makes common sense!
I'd recommend you re-read this information. Check out the links and explore for yourself. Then, try to BE AWARE of how you're thinking about your health and wellbeing. Discover what insights you learn. Are you more negatively focused... are your thoughts more optimistic.
Then ask yourself:
Raise your level of health awareness FIRST... then, begin to make adjustments to how you're eating based on what you're learning about your body.
Next blog, we'll go into some more of the basics around food, how sugar causes metabolic problems and stress on the body that can contribute to depression, anxiety, and poor sense of wellbeing.
Blessings to your health,
Dr. Jamie Wright, DO, MS, FACOOG, ABAARM has over 20 years of experience in the medical field. He graduated from Michigan State University / College of Osteopathic Medicine medical school in 2001. He is Double Board Certified with a Master's Degree in Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine.
Learn more about Jamie Wright.
Ask questions. Share your thoughts. Note that we cannot answer questions relating to specific medical conditions - please refer those to your qualified healthcare provider.
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