Health Issues Today
I am not a nutritionist, a doctor, or a health care worker. I am a mother, wife and friend. Over the years, some of my family members have been diagnosed with diseases that have decreased their quality of life. Many times, I have heard the doctors say things like you need to lose weight, reduce your salt intake, control your carbohydrate intake, your A1C number is too high, your triglycerides are too high, you have high cholesterol, and you are pre-diabetic. I have heard all of these things and more. Many people have these same health issues today.
In 2011 an article written in Psychology Today refers to the Legatum Study that ranked the U.S. 27th in the health of its citizens, life expectancy below average compared to the 30 countries included in the study, with the U.S the having the highest obesity of those countries.
America’s Health Rankings 2015 Annual report the U.S. ranks 45 out of 50 high income country’s. This is using the indicators of mortality, survival, and life expectancy.
Interesting note on spending for health care “U.S. expenditure on health care, as measured by percent of gross domestic product (GDP) spent on health by private and public sectors, ranks second among 191 countries at 17.1% of GDP…..Only 20 countries spend more than 10% of GDP on health. All other developed countries with health expenditures more than 10% of GDP have both a lower infant mortality rate and a higher life expectancy than the United States.”
5 highest ranking states in the U.S. for over all health:
1 Hawaii, 2 Vermont, 3 Massachusetts, 4 Minnesota,
5 New Hampshire.
5 lowest ranking states in the U.S. for over all health:
50 Louisiana, 49 Mississippi, 48 Arkansa, 47 West Virginia,
Obesity rating for the U.S. in 1990 was 11.6, in 2015 it was 29.6
America’s Health Rankings by the United Health Foundation.
The CDC published a report (Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Decline in Deaths from Heart Disease and Stroke — United States, 1900-1999). In this report discussing the improvements for those who are treated for Heart Disease and Stroke there is a sentence stating “In addition, the prevalence of obesity has increased among both children and adults in the United States (13).”
These reports suggest many in the United States have similar health issues today. What has happened with my family is not uncommon. Some are calling this an epidemic.
Are we making ourselves sick with the choices we make?
Do we have to live this way?
Is there something we can do ourselves to change these numbers?
Can we reclaim our health?
To help my family I like to read self-improvement books, health books, diet books, and research websites for solutions to improve our health. Some of these have been helpful and some have not.
In truth, this has been an interest to me from an early age. Some books I read described cures for ailments that used plants and foods as medication. Some medications today are forms of plants or other resources found in nature. Now I realized that some of these things were not really effective or safe however, the idea stuck with me. And the question that kept nagging at me was: Is there another way to treat some of our health issues? To me common sense says that there is.
Doctors say lose weight and eat healthy.
As I listened to the doctors prescribe medications and give advice for improving our health one thing stood out. Lose weight and eat better. Through the years, the advice on how to achieve this has changed many times. The ideas and suggestions for improving our health has been a roller coaster of new discoveries and debunking of old ideas and then revisiting ideas from the past. Sometimes the medical and scientific data can be extremely frustrating and depressing. Who and what should we look to for information and what is right?
Mothers Say Eat Your Vegetables!
Mothers use to say to us “eat your vegetables!” She limited the amount of sweets allowed. Told us to drink our water instead of soda pop. Go out and enjoy the fresh air she said. Riding our bicycles all day and swimming were favorite summertime activities. Eating from the garden was a sweet treat of fresh peas, cherry tomatoes and green beans. Plum trees grew in the corners of the back yard and the apple tree in the front yard. It was just as fun to climb the apple tree, as it was to eat its fruit. We would go to the berry patch for fresh strawberries and to the orchard for the sweet juicy peaches. Peach cobbler was a treat when grandma came to visit from Minnesota. I remember visiting the dairy farm up the road from us; the farmer dressed in dirty overalls was milking one of the cows. The cat stood close by, watched and waited for a treat. A squirt of milk to its face and his mouth opened and his little tongue started to move, and to my surprise the farmer told me to open up and he squirted me in the mouth. I was tickled pink, giggled and watched as he did the same to my sister.
We ate fresh food from the garden; mom cooked and canned our food. Rarely did we buy processed food. Mom made and decorated our birthday cakes. She baked fresh bread and cookies for our lunch sacks. Ice cream was for a special occasion. Life was simple and happy.
Diets after Mom started working.
Mom went to work and little by little, life began to change. More convenience food came into the house as Moms time split between home and work. Now she bought cookies from the store for our lunch. She bought a birthday cake from the store and complained about the frosting. We started drinking 2% milk; it looked like colored water to us kids. Mom still did some canning but not as much. She still canned green beans, pickles and tomato sauce. The idea of buying these things from the store became easier and easier.
Today my siblings and I have raised our children on this processed food. My daughter has problems drinking milk. My son has digestive problems. My oldest son is having other health issues. Why? Because I did not raise them the way my mother raised me. I did not feed them the same way mother did when we were young. I did not grow a garden. We had no home canned tomatoes, pickles, or green beans. Sweets were a regular item and not for a special occasion. Convenience foods and the fast food stop has become a part of their life.
Changing lifestyle for improved health.
Now when they come home to see me I cook with fresh foods, whole food, and fresh fruit. I purchase very little processed food. I like to eat nuts and fruit for a snack now. As I make changes and try to teach them how to be healthy, they are making small changes also. I hope that as I learn more that they will teach my grandchildren a better way. I even baked a dark chocolate cake for my daughter’s birthday from scratch. It wasn’t that hard to do and it was a lot of fun.
What we can do to improve our health.
There is information that can help us improve our life. Websites that we can go to that can help us find our way through the maze. I have reviewed some books that have helped me and you can find them on my Book Reviews page.
I am also reading another book called. Fat Chance Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease. By Robert H. Lustig, M.D.,M.S.L. Also The Fat Chance Cookbook with Recipes by Cindy Gershen. Both are filled with fantastic information and include research results done by Dr Lustig.
The best advice I can give you is to eat as fresh and raw as you can. If you eat meat choose the best quality possible for you. Eat from the food groups and in the portions recommended. Enjoy cooking and eating together as a family. Small changes have made all the difference for our family and I hope that it would work for yours also.
If you know of someone that could use the information I have included here please share this page with them.
Get In Touch By Leaving a Comment
Also I would love to hear from you. What do you struggle with and what solutions have you found that has helped you? By leaving a comment below you may be able to help someone else who is looking for a solution. I know there are many of us on this journey to better health and we can help support each other and make a difference for the world too.
Thanks for reading. Robin.