“The problem with scalpels, pills and powders is that they come from a fix-it mentality, rather than preventing sickness though a healthy diet.”
Diabetes, high blood pressure, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, stroke, mental illness, chronic fatigue, asthma, prostate cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, heart attack, allergies, sleep disorders, erectile dysfunction, Crohn’s disease: all of these conditions are now household names, and just like the logo of your favorite fast food place, are a part of our North American identity.
Elbow deep in grease, I discovered that the quickest way to educate myself on the mechanics of a car is to own one that breaks down repeatedly. I can tell you everything you want to know about a 1986 Plymouth Horizon. Few people discover the complexity of their body until illness strikes. My friend Shelly has battled chronic fatigue for over ten years. She can describe every allergy known to mankind, expound on the complex functions of the thyroid, and discuss all the latest fashion health remedies. Her medical encyclopedia is as dog-eared as her Bible from her frantic efforts to find an answer to the extra gravity she is forced to carry around every day of her life.
Searching for answers to ailing health can be overwhelming. The choices are confusing and contradictory. On one side is the medical establishment, backed by a multibillion dollar Pharmaceutical Syndication offering a candy store of highly specialized drugs. On the other side is your local health food store exhibiting walls of vitamin and mineral supplements, tree bark extracts, antioxidants, detoxifiers, even love potions, all claiming to hold the answer to your ailment. There is a place for both, but the problem with scalpels, pills and powders is that they come from a fix-it mentality, rather than preventing the problem before it manifests itself. You cannot fix the typical North American diet overnight; there has to be radical and sustained change.
The government invests billions of dollars in researching diseases, yet very little is spent on prevention of disease or on educating people on lifestyle changes. More money is spent on advertising aspirin than on nutritional education. Due to medical care, people are living longer, but seniors are taking an average of eight to twelve prescription drugs daily for multiple health problems. Modern medicine has allowed us to attain a prolonged lifespan, but unfortunately, it often tragically translates into prolonged suffering and dependence on drugs.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, in 1998, the annual average cause of death in the United States was estimated at 39,325 deaths from automobile accidents, compared to an astonishing 60,000 to 140,000 deaths attributed to adverse drug reactions. In the early 1990s, Ralph Nader’s consumer advocacy group exposed a revealing statistic: up to 300,000 medically induced deaths occurred in hospitals every year across America, more than five times the number of soldiers killed during the Vietnam War. Medical technology is crucial, and doctors are doing their best to keep an aging population standing, but when it comes to internally adjusting the intricate working of the human body, far too often medicines fail.
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