Sliding Otter News
November 19, 2011
The Challenge of Getting and Staying Healthy
It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease
than to know what sort of disease a person has.
My age finally caught up with me and my mailbox swims with ads for Medicare programs. Maybe it’s just the time of year but I can’t turn on the television without facing an onslaught of ads from Medicare insurance programs and drug companies. My next medical appointment also creeps up on me and it will be time to see what condition my condition is in. I will soon be asked to account for my efforts at keeping my body healthy.
Drugs abound for every conceivable condition and some conditions beyond imagination. I should ask my health provider about each drug and tell her if I have any conditions from a long list including, strangely enough, death. Ads tout each Medicare program as my best possible choice. I decide to check the Medicare website and find fifty-six different plans available to me. One most likely will be enough. Still, the other fifty-five vie for my attention.
I don’t review all fifty-six plans and fortunately narrow down possible selections of interest to a handful. I learn that the best way to keep medical costs down is to stay healthy. No big surprise there. I know my enemies: overweight, hypertension, cholesterol, triglycerides and too little exercise among others. These are the usual suspects. Then arrive all the other conditions typical of my age, some commonplace, some more exotic, and the screening tests to keep them at bay.
Lately my lunchtime conversations have turned to nutrition, the field of medicine, drugs and health in general. Fast foods keep popping up on TV, mail advertising, newspapers and billboards. We see and hear how quick, easy and tasty each one is. The effects on our bodies and health somehow don’t make the ads.
I wonder why the sudden need for such a variety of drugs and supplements. We can’t be so different from our ancestors who had little need for them. I stumble on a book about the Mediterranean diet and realize we have forgotten how to eat. Traditional Mediterranean communities took the time to incorporate their wonderful foods into their daily routines. Many of the lifestyle illnesses and conditions which plague us are rare among them.
Sugar, fat and salt have shanghaied our diets. Even the Mediterranean communities have started gradually moving toward our frenetic pace of life and seemingly easy but dangerous eating and lifestyles. Yet their traditional variety, emphasis on fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and a little wine offer to prevent or minimize the conditions we create for ourselves and then try to remedy with drugs and supplements. I for one have started exploring the Mediterranean option.
Life Lab Lessons
- Spend some time thinking about how you eat.
- Look at how you spend your leisure time.
- What did you hear about your health last time you saw your doctor?
- What is your health worth to you?
- Consider Mediterranean, Hawaiian or other traditional diets.