Health Care Crisis: Real Solution is at the End of Our Forks!
Despite spending 17.7 percent of our GDP on health care, which is nearly twice the OECD (i.e. other developed nations) average of 9.3 percent, America has consistently ranked near last in the OECD when it comes to health outcomes since the 1980s.
Despite spending more money each year on medications, diagnostic testing and procedures, our health as a nation continues to decline. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 218 million Americans (69%) are either obese or overweight. Chronic diseases like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease account for 75% of all health care costs.This is a true #HealthCareCrisis but the solution is on our fork, not in a pill. Click To Tweet What would have happened if we shifted our focus from treating #disease to creating #health? Click To Tweet
Study after study has demonstrated that you could lower your risk of…high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer and dementia by 50% by eating more than 9 servings of vegetables a day. We as a country are eating steadily fewer vegetables, less than 1.5 servings of vegetables each day which is probably why.
I am a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa and a staff physician at the local VA hospital where I direct the Therapeutic Lifestyle Clinic. We see patients in a clinic that was created specifically for treating complex chronic diseases. Our patients are usually obese, often diabetic, and most have chronic pain. Often their drug bill each month is thousands of dollars.We #teach our patients that the cells in their bodies depend on the the #food they eat... Click To Tweet
What You Should Know Too
We teach our patients that the cells in their bodies depend on the the food they eat to run the chemistry of life and how physical activity boosts the production of nerve growth factors in the brain that help nurture and repair our brain cells. We teach them that if you create a toxic environment for your cells because of poor diet and lifestyle choices, that their diseases will continue to advance and they will need more and more medications to attempt to slow their illness.
During World War II, Americans self-provisioned their food with “victory gardens” so our industries could focus on the war.
Stuart Kallen, author of The War at Home, reports that up to one third of all American vegetables produced during that time came from such gardens. We need victory gardens again, this time to defeat the epidemic of chronic disease.
We should replace urban blight with urban farms as they have in Detroit, Atlanta, and Oakland—all of which were among the top ten worst “food deserts” in the United States, areas with poor access to fruits and vegetables. If we returned to cooking meals at home, replacing sugar and white flour with vegetables, our health as individuals and our collective health as a nation would improve dramatically. In bodies fed this way, cells start conducting the chemistry of life more correctly, repairing the body and restoring health and our ability to resist or even reverse disease.We need victory #gardens again, this time to defeat the #epidemic of chronic #disease. Click To Tweet
Time and time again, as our patients understand why diet and lifestyle matters to their health they begin cooking meals at home again. They start growing vegetables in containers and in their gardens. Then their blood sugars and blood pressures normalize, their pain fades, moods improve and so does their memory. Then we are able reduce and discontinue medication after medication. Their health improves and their health care costs decline.
This is the real solution for the health care crisis:
- Grow food in urban farms, edible landscapes, gardens and container gardens.
- Cook at home.
Our great grandmothers were right. Vegetables create health. Grow them. Cook them. Eat them.
Bio: Dr. Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa where she teaches internal medicine residents, sees patients in a traumatic brain injury clinic, and conducts clinical trials. She is also a patient with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, which confined her to a tilt-recline wheelchair for four years. Dr. Wahls restored her health using diet and lifestyle changes and now pedals her bike to work each day. She is the author of The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine and The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions (out December 30, 2014). She teaches the public and medical community about the healing power of intensive nutrition. You can find more information about her work at her website www.terrywahls.com and follow her on twitter @TerryWahls and on Facebook at Terry Wahls MD.
(photo credit Jonathan D. Sabin)