Posted by: hagengreen | July 8, 2012

Business trumps health: in pursuit of The American Dream

Well… hello there!

I came across an opt-ed piece in the New York Times that was oddly inspirational. First off, I’m not a regular “Opinion” reader. I love a “discussion”, but am not a big fan of consuming the “take-it-or-leave-it” articles. (Am *I* on your guilty list?) Well, one of them caught my eye with a taunting title: “Got Milk? You Don’t Need It”. As someone who has makes a concerted effort to steer clear of dairy, I was obviously interested in the “opinion” of why we no longer need it. First off, it’s well-written and chock full of numbers to back the author’s arguments. So I recommend you read it for yourself. The author turned out to be lactose-intolerant, but relied on band-aids like Prevacid to help ease the chronic indigestion. While the anti-dairy argument was an interesting read in itself (in particular the vast numbers of people whose bodies don’t handle dairy “gracefully”), the author touched briefly on a point that I strongly believe is the real problem with our nation: our healthcare system. I’m not opening a can of worms here… stay with me… I’m talking about the desire of the “system” to make money. Big pharma in particular, but also doctors, nurses, pharmacies, and others in the chain of drugs who may have been misinformed. Unfortunately, much of the system is driven at one end by shareholder demands for even higher profits. R&D and new drugs can help and many are beneficial. However there are way too many “fix-it” drugs that claim to fix problems that are in direct result of our lifestyle choices. The author touches on one of them which has an astonishingly simple fix: stop consuming dairy. The financial impact is zero to the patient. But the American way is to patch the problem by taking a pill (although the doctor and patient call it a “fix”). Rarely is it considered that something so trivial in the patient’s lifestyle could be the root cause. That’s too easy. A patient would scoff at the thought of cutting out milk, ice cream, cheese, and yogurt. Get rid of that doctor! I’ve had milk all my life and never had a problem. Yep.

We’re all after the magic blue pill (no, not this one, but maybe this one!). Well, maybe not all of us. While we continue to seek the holy grail cure-all antidote, I believe there needs to be a shift to prevention – which mostly relies on things we have had for thousands of years! We’re here today because our ancestors were gifted & lucky enough to survive and have offspring through natural selection. Why would we fuel our bodies with pills & ingredients that none of our ancestors ate? Again, some may be beneficial and modern medicine in general has continued to feed into a ever-growing life-expectancy. But we’re at a critical point where our technology is beginning to fire against us. (Examples here and here. Now this is a great read.) Human adaptation to sustain explosions in world population has not been tested over time. I believe we are starting to see signs in the latest few generations: obesity is on a rapid climb, the rate of diabetes is staggering, and the omnipresent exposure to toxins wears down on our immune systems. We simply can’t nurture healthy lives. If you look around the world, there are some groups of people that have statistically significant rates of cancer than is lower than industrialized countries on the whole. A great example is the Amish. (Good article on cancer & the Amish here.) The answers here are simple. It just takes a few moments of thinking before eating to make a more informed decision.

1. Minimize refined sugars. We are a nation of sugar addiction! Just look at soda consumption.

2. Minimize toxins. What you eat & drink, what you put on your body (hairspray, deodorant, sunscreen, etc.), what air you breathe (as much as you can help it). It’s everywhere and all around us.

3. If you couldn’t grow it or make it with primitive tools, don’t consume it.

4. Raw is best.

5. Water is essential.

Yes, there are other “good things” like eating wild low-mercury fish, exercise, etc. But if we could at least get folks to try focusing on the above points first and foremost, I believe we would be in a very different place. Corporate interests would turn to solving a different set of problems which I pray would be “better” than those they’re spending too much time trying to solve today. The diagnosis would start with a set of questions and conversations like tell me about what you eat during your day? Besides my naturopathic/holistic doctor (a post for another time), no doctor has EVER asked me that question. How can they help me when they don’t understand me?

We desperately need humanity to help humanity. The way it’s working today is broken. It’s based on greed and misinformation. Today’s system is not sustainable, but we haven’t hit the critical breaking point yet. So life goes on. But like all life, including those lives of our ancestors, may survival-of-the-fittest continue to take its course.



  1. Nice to see a post again, glad to see that Green brain is still cooking.

    • Hey Doug, great to hear from you. It’s good to be back!

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