CHISHOLM, Minn. — The debate over health-care insurance goes on, driven by greed, fear and political polarization. So what’s a person to do? I say, start your own health-care system.
According to info I’ve been reading, there are four lifestyle changes that can help overcome hereditary weaknesses. These are 1) eat a plant-based diet, 2) get some moderate daily walking exercise, 3) practice stress management, and 4) have a support group of some kind that gets together on a weekly basis.
Dan Buettner, author of “The Blue Zone: Lessons for Living Longer From the People who’ve Lived the Longest” (National Geographic Books), worked on a study to find people worldwide with the greatest longevity. Here are his conclusions based on what they had in common:
• Move naturally. Some of these people might walk a mile to visit a friend.
• Belong to a group. This can include family, friends and opportunities for socializing and visiting.
• Eat wisely. The biggest meal should be at midday. A longevity diet is plant-based. Whole plant foods support a healthy immune system, while the Western processed food diet promotes chronic inflammation. Traditional diets include fava and other beans, legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, with minimal amounts of cheese, yogurt, eggs, fish or meat. If you don’t know how to get started, check out Mediterranean diets on the Internet. People living in the Mediterranean area also get plenty of sunshine (Vitamin D).
• Have a good outlook. People need a sense of purpose and a sense of service.
I think it’s time we take our own health back into our own hands. Cancer screening doesn’t prevent cancer; it just tries to catch it early enough to get a better outcome. Diet is a huge part of preventive health care, but our government subsidizes the agribusiness, which supplies most of our food. These foods are laced with pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones and antibiotics. At the same time, our houses, furnishings and carpets off-gas a myriad of chemicals — all of which might be individually regulated, but not for their synergistic effects. The products we use for cleaning and personal care are laden with chemicals — just read the ingredients on the labels.
Work on the causes
I believe we should all have access to medical health care when we need it. All of the other industrialized countries have some form of universal health care. But health-care costs will remain very expensive until we clean up the causes of many of the illnesses within our society.
And I, for one, am not going to wait for government, industry, or insurance companies to do this for me. My own health-care plan includes gardening, exercising and using local farmers’ markets and the local food co-op. It also includes washing any commercially grown fruits with vinegar to help eliminate toxic residues. Vinegar is a basic nontoxic cleaning agent. It works for windows, drains, mildew on decking, as a rinse in the washing machine, and as a hair rinse. I am also finding nontoxic products for refurbishing wood, and I believe in taking care of old furnishings, which have already done most of their off-gassing.
Support local businesses
With the money I save by using simple ingredients and maintaining what I have, I will support local businesses that sell local/organic foods and natural products.
I hope to maintain my independent health care as long as possible. My mother spent three and a half years in a nursing home, and it seems to me that this kind of “managed care” means giving up all of your individual choices.
Health care should be there to support us in time of need. But no health-care insurance plan can control our daily habits. By managing my own health, I also support an economy that is based on wellness.
Elanne Palcich, a retired elementary school teacher, lives in Chisholm, Minn.