Monday, May 05, 2008

If People Really Wanted Health Care...

The other day my wife and I were in our local Sam's Club picking up some items. There was a woman in the store as well, riding one of those motorized carts for disabled people. This woman was the largest person I have ever seen in person in my life. She was literally spilling off the sides of this cart. Her ankles were as large as my thighs. She could not even get her feet off the ground and was dragging them along beside the cart as she rode around with her husband. I don't mean to be insulting, but this woman looked like she needed a crane or a forklift to get up and move around. It was sad, and pathetic at the same time.

The reason I mention this is not to be degrading to her, I realize that some people do have conditions that just make it difficult for them to lose weight. I do not believe that was the case with this woman. I say this because of what I saw as she checked out in the lane next to me.

This woman had 5 cases of Pepsi, two cases of canned Hormel chili, 4 frozen pizzas, 6 loaves of white bread, 8 bags of Lays Potato chips, and to top it all off, four each 2 lb bags of saltwater taffy. On top of all that garbage she had a stack of DVD movies. She obviously spends most of her time just eating garbage and watching television. I thought to myself that this woman either did not know that she was killing herself with that lifestyle, or she just didn't care.

And that thought led to the topic of this article, the subject of health care. The two candidates battling for the Democratic nomination for President are both offering some form of universal health care. What the people really want is someone to take care of them, they want to shift that responsibility away from themselves, and onto someone else.

There are two types of health care, proactive and reactive. What the Democrats, and all those who push for universal health care, really want to provide us with is a reactive health care system. In a reactive health care system we are not responsible for the maintenance of our health as the medical system is there to repair the damage we do to ourselves.

In a proactive health care system people take responsibility for the maintenance of their health at the optimum level and the doctor is a last resort for serious illness or injury. In a proactive system the people take the time to learn about what they are putting into their bodies instead of just shoveling any pre-packaged garbage they find that tastes appetizing.

That woman I saw at Sam's Club was a poster child for reactive health care. I don't think she could have jogged from the front of the store to her car without causing herself injury, or maybe even having a coronary. Don't get me wrong, I am not the perfect specimen of health. I carry a few extra pounds around my midsection that I would like to see gone. However I am conscious of what I eat and if I do eat sweets, I limit myself as to how much. I could do better, and I realize that. However, I am still capable of putting in a good solid 8 hours worth of hard work without collapsing from fatigue at the end of the day.

If you go to the grocery store, it seems as though the shelves are stocked with pre packaged meals that are fast and easy to prepare...and loaded with who knows what for flavoring and preservatives? Hamburger Helper, frozen microwaveable dinners, are the meal of choice for many people. It seems as though the thought of making a meal from scratch is a dying art in this country. Add to that the fact that our lifestyles are more sedentary and we have a nation of, if not grossly obese, at least overweight people.

Then we wonder why we have a nation of diabetics, with our children even developing this disease at an earlier age. Heart disease is almost something that is accepted as commonplace. Hell, I have friends who are ten years younger than I am and have had triple bypass surgery. I look at them and think that they ought to be grateful they are still alive, but no, they still eat their Burger King, their Dominoes Pizza, their sugar laden snacks, and if they even eat fresh fruits and vegetables, it is as a side dish maybe once or twice a week.

What is the old saying, ‘You are what you eat’. If that is true then Americans are walking garbage cans. People may claim that they are too busy to prepare a 'real meal' and therefore rely upon these prepackaged meals, but I wonder if they would if they knew what was in them? The contents of these meals are established by the food industry themselves.

It is not just foods either. Everyone brushes their teeth, at least I hope they do. I wonder how many people have taken the time to read the warning on a tube of toothpaste. If they haven't they might be shocked, as it says, "WARNINGS: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek PROFESSIONAL HELP or contact a POISON CONTROL center immediately." Go look for yourself it you don't believe me.

I wonder why they would want you to call a poison control center if you swallow toothpaste? Maybe it is because the fluoride they put in it is toxic.

"If the formulation contains fluoride ion higher than 1000 ppm, it can cause poison; and the fluoride ion can react with calcium ion and magnesium in the human body and cause low level calcium ion and magnesium ion in blood. In some cases it has caused heart and muscle problems. If a child were to take a big spoonful of this fluoride and get it down, it is a poison that could kill the child."

It would behoove people to do a little research into the ingredients of the meals they prepare for themselves if they wish to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to their health.

If that wasn't enough, the chemicals that are placed into the prepackaged meals that Americans live upon, what about the manner in which they are cooked? Microwaves are a common item found in almost every home, and many workplaces. Although I am forced to use them at work to heat my meals for lunch, I use them sparingly, heating the food just until it is warm. Why?

"There have been very few scientific studies done on the effect of eating food microwaved food. This is rather surprising when you think about the fact that microwaves have been with us for only a few decades - and that in that time the incidence of many diseases has continued to increase.

Two researchers, Blanc and Hertel, confirmed that microwave cooking significantly changes food nutrients. Hertel previously worked as a food scientist for several years with one of the major Swiss food companies. He was fired from his job for questioning procedures in processing food because they denatured it. He got together with Blanc of the Swiss Federal Institute of Biochemistry and the University Institute for Biochemistry.

They studied the effect that microwaved food had on eight individuals, by taking blood samples immediately after eating. They found that after eating microwaved food, haemoglobin levels decreased. "These results show anaemic tendencies. The situation became even more pronounced during the second month of the study".

So, as people feed themselves these prepackaged meals that they heat in the microwave, they are not only eating who knows what, they are destroying whatever nutritional value they had to begin with.

It all boils down to the issue of whether you want to maintain your health by eating a nutritious meal that provides the right balance of nutrients, or if you want to eat junk that you have no idea what is in it and has little nutritional value.

I just find it far more than coincidence that as the type of food we eat as a nation has gone from home cooked meals to prepackaged, or fast food, so has the number of health issues such as diabetes and heart disease been on the rise.

We would not need the type health care programs offered by Senators Clinton and Obama if we would only do a little preventive maintenance on our bodies by eating healthy and getting a little exercise every now and then.

Unfortunately if you take a walk through the aisles of your local supermarket, you will see that people want to continue on with the lifestyle that includes prepackaged meals with little nutritional value. They are paying for it with increased health issues that could have been prevented if they only ate the right foods.

Like I said, I am not perfect, but I do not go to the supermarket to buy the garbage that keeps me bound to a motorized cart because I am too big to walk on my own.

1 comment:

tchoden said...

We have this saying here that 'your body is a temple'. Its basically saying that in order for anyone to do something, one has to be fit and for that you really have to take care of what you put it in your mouth.
At least where i stay, people still eat home-cooked meals. However in capitals, those precooked/prepacked meals are coming in. 10 years ago, solid waste management was never an issue for this county but with consumerism, solid waste management is a pertinent issue. Of coruse there's no talking about the new diseases.

I think we make our own mess most of the time, when life could be much simpler.