Are you frustrated with American health care? Are you concerned for the future of your children? Do some of your family members live in nursing homes? Do you want want to stop supporting a system that is more interested in corporate profit than the health of your family? There are many ways we can make a difference. It is up to us to drop out of the old, broken systems of the conventional health care, and begin building a new one; one that reflects our new – and traditional – values.
A few days ago my mother in law, an RN of 30 years, sent me this letter after another difficult day on the job. It was a reminder about what I stand for and why I am seeking a career in holistic nutrition
For the past thirty years, I have been involved in the management of chronic disease at the clinical, administrative and executive level. As a board-certified geriatric Registered Nurse and a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, I have provided healthcare primarily to the World War II generation, often called The Traditionalists. This generation was the first to experience “better living through chemistry”, and the first to trade wholesome, farm-raised, real food for processed foods and factory produced food-like products. While they have, in general, lived longer than their predecessors who often died of infection and complications of accidents as adults and of now-eradicated childhood diseases prior to reaching adulthood, their “golden years” are often spent in a relentless and debilitating battle against chronic diseases which, in previous generations, were virtually unknown.
Their children, the Baby Boomers (of which I am one, born in 1955) vaguely remember childhood days of unending activity and play, followed by a wholesome, locally butchered pot roast for dinner. But these memories are dim, replaced by convenience food and, later, fast food. Many of their Gen X and Gen Y children do not know that food can be locally sourced and organically grown, or even that the purpose of food is to fuel a healthy, active body.
I have observed first-hand that “healthcare” in our nation is code for the reactive pharmaceutical and surgical management of chronic disease caused by poor lifestyle and food choices, resulting from widespread ignorance regarding what, when and how to eat, creating endemic obesity and associated chronic diseases, including diabetes, atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, renal failure, autoimmune responses such as crippling arthritis and fibromyalgia and even increasing rates of infertility. The impact of our subclinical malnutrition on the mental health of our children, as well as its relationship to the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease, is largely unstudied and unknown; however, the relentless increase in mental health issues coinciding with the pervasiveness of our nutrient-depleted diet cannot be a coincidence.
I have been a well-meaning participant in this travesty for 30 years, and I have seen enough useless suffering fueled by both ignorance and greed to last several lifetimes. The circle is complete; large corporate conglomerates profit outrageously by poisoning us with attractive, hyper palatable food substitutes which our bodies were never designed to tolerate, much less to thrive upon, and then other large corporate conglomerates profit outrageously by addressing the resultant endemic, chronic disease with toxic pharmaceuticals designed to address symptoms, not causes. When I began my nursing career 30 years ago, some of my patients were on as many as 7 medications, and this was considered alarming. Now some of my geriatric patients are on 25 to 30 medications, and no one seems too concerned, as long as the profit stream continues.
I believe that individual healthcare providers are well-meaning but uninformed. This can no longer be tolerated. “Healthcare Reform” will occur when people in the healthcare system are willing to pursue and promulgate the truth about the role that food plays in both health and disease, and to stand firm on the reality that our food and healthcare industries, including the pharmaceutical empire, are wholly built on “profits over people.”
As for me, I want to leave the medical mainstream and to dedicate my remaining working years to educating, equipping and encouraging desperate people who want to trade a lifestyle of obesity, inactivity and illness for a healthy relationship with real food that results in healing, wellness, and a self-image that is consistent with a happy and productive life.
“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
– Grace Glasser