Friday, May 2, 2014

Choices Today That Affect Tomorrow

Recently, a patient asked me, “With all the advances in technology and years spent studying certain body parts, don’t you think they’d have figured out by now how to do something about (X, Y, and Z conditions/diseases)?”  My response was fueled by an article that I had read the day before – the published results of a 75 year study conducted through Harvard University.  I replied, “I think that we can pour a ton of resources into better understanding these various conditions, but until the research stops being all about finding ways to treat these problems once they have already developed, we’re unlikely to find the cures.  The future of health science – when all the major advances will come – will begin the moment that our society recognizes the futility in trying treat disease when nearly every disease is preventable.  Once we focus on preventing sickness and disease, the research is going to make people look back at the currently modern era of USA healthcare and roll their eyes.”

It goes back to age old adage about “an apple a day will keep the doctor away.”  If you make smart choices today, then you’re going to benefit from them tomorrow.  Part of the curse of the instant gratification mindset toward modern medicine is that it often does not eye the future.  Short-term gains using that model rarely result in long-term successes.  The aforementioned Harvard study has compiled three quarters of a century’s worth of data to prove it.  Back in 1938, a team of researchers gathered several hundred undergraduate students and enlisted them for a lifelong project designed to answer that which all of us are concerned about: what makes people happy?  I found it unsurprising that many of the suggested keys to life were grounded in good health – nor was I surprised to find that good health was largely shaped, according to the research, by the choices that were made early in life.  Hereditary factors were not disregarded, just as we at the office do not disregard them, but the conclusions drawn are quite firm in their observations that the family tree had far less to do with health in the long-term than did more controllable factors.  When smart choices were made in adulthood, for instance, there was a far better outcome in overall health in the elderly years. 

This would seem like common sense if we thought about it more often.  Choose to eat organic and drink the recommended consumption of water per day in your 30s or 40s and the odds are statistically and significantly stronger that you’re going to not just outlive your peers that do not maintain those habits, but that you will also maintain a far greater quality of life.  It is time that we all collectively begin to make the connection between lousy food and a lack of health the way that we do cigarettes or alcohol.  Just as overconsumption of alcohol, which is quite common, and the use of nicotine products are associated with health conditions such as liver disease, lung cancer, depression, and other neuroses, the same can be said of processed foods.  At the end of the day, debate the specific dangers all you want, but the common denominator amongst them is chemicals.  If you put chemicals into your body – and especially if you bombard your body with chemicals like those that drink multiple sodas per day – then you’re setting yourself up for failure.  If the quality of the foods that you eat is not up to par and then you, additionally, do not adequately keep yourself hydrated with water (preferably filtered via reverse osmosis), you are basically sending an open invitation to become (or remain) sickly.  Water filters the toxins out of our bodies.  In regards to lousy foods, it helps take the chemical waste to the kidneys to the bladder to be eliminated from the body.  Soda, Gatorade, coffee, and tea do not as effectively produce this vitally important result. 

One of the common myths about eating organic food or drinking high quality water is that it costs more.  Ditto for the idea that doing things to improve your health that are not covered by your medical insurance cost you more.  In the long run, that is not true.  Maybe – and it’s a big maybe, honestly (a big part of the myth) – they might cost more on the front end, but these are the things that take your body from a toxic, broken down invitation for sickness and disease and make you a healthier version of yourself protected against the onset of the 14,900 diagnoses that can be billed by your providers.  Ultimately, that SAVES you money.  It’s far more cost effective to maintain a car rather than wait for it to break down.  The same goes for your body.  It just makes sense to put constructive things into your body.  If you’re not doing that right now, then start doing that right now.  There’s no time like the present – your future depends on it.  

Other common sense additions to your healthcare quest are structural balance, normal function, and a good attitude.  Bodies that aren’t balanced break down instead of wear down.  Organs that fail to receive proper communication from the brain work abnormally instead of normally.  Bad attitudes equate to more stress and all the muck that comes with it.  So, start forming better habits across the board.  You only get one body. 

Thinking good things for you,

-Dr. Chad

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