Millions of Americans are feeling the stress of losing their jobs and as a result, their health insurance. But what if I told you that losing your health insurance could actually be a blessing in disguise? What if I told you that there is an opportunity in that loss…an opportunity for growth, and perhaps, with a bit of determination on your part, to reach and maintain your highest health potential?
When I was in high school in the ’70s I developed an eating disorder (anorexia nervosa that flipped into bulimia) that lasted 10 years. Sure, I had insurance. But it was the pre-Karen Carpenter era, so no doctors or counselors had a clue—which made my insurance worthless! Nowadays they might prescribe a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, but I am so glad those didn’t exist back then. Drugs do not get to the root of the problem and often have side effects nearly as bad, if not worse, than the illness.
Convinced I had to heal myself, I took eight university classes in psychology searching for a cure. But nothing worked till I moved to Mexico and got away from all the processed trigger foods. I also started taking super foods like bee pollen and brewer’s yeast, and… suddenly the eating disorder, which had been a 10-year hell for me, simply vanished! 10 years of praying and seeking a cure for my mind by reading psychology and self help books ended. I got well only after healing the body, not the mind.
I then knew the importance of nutrition as the principle key to health. Through the years I experimented with health modalities, even got a master’s degree in Chinese medicine and did acupuncture for a while. But I noticed herbs were even more effective than needles. The conviction grew that what a person puts into his or her mouth has the greatest effect of all.
When I discovered the cleansing and rejuvenating power of a raw food diet, my health soared! I was free from hepatitis C, PMS that had me depressed three weeks of the month, athlete’s foot, brain fog, herpes, even jet lag! I devoured every book on the raw food diet and came across a multitude of testimonials-people healing from disease without drugs or surgery. Victoria Boutenko, for example, was healed of arrhythmia and her husband of hyperthyroidism. Their son was cured of juvenile diabetes and their daughter of asthma. After just a few months on the diet, they were all going on extended hikes, bursting with energy!
Reverend George Malkmus healed himself of colon cancer…David Klein defeated colitis…Roe Gallo conquered a highly allergic sensitivity to the 20th century chemicals…Lou Corona healed from a head tumor…Dr. Lorraine Day reversed breast cancer…Angela Stokes lost 159 pounds… Jenny Smith no longer sleepwalks. The list goes on and on.
“But what about accidents?” you might be protesting. Yes, you might want to get a very high deductible insurance in case of accidents. But consider this: I know of people who even used raw foods as a main part of healing from accidents. Take Aajonous Vonderplanitz, for example. Four MDs told him that his son, injured from a car accident, would be brain dead for life. But using raw foods, Aajonous got his son to come out of the coma with a full recovery of his brain and muscles. His son went on to graduate from a university. (Aajonous details the entire story in his book We Want to Live.)
Then there is Dr. Joe Dispenza (who appears in the films What the Bleep Do We Know? and What If? and tells his story in his book Evolve Your Brain). Joe was injured in a car accident and was diagnosed with “multiple compression fractures of the thoracic spine with the T-8 vertebra more than 60% collapsed.” The doctors recommended Harrington rod surgery, but Joe was haunted by all the patients he had seen that had had this surgery. They never really healed, never regained their spinal flexibility, and many lived the rest of their lives addicted to pain medications. Filled with the conviction of the body’s innate power to heal itself, he rejected surgery and used raw foods plus visualization to heal himself.
Researchers are starting to learn that what you eat impacts your health more than anything, even genetics. What you eat feeds your genes toward health or degeneration. A friend of mine who eats a 100% raw diet says her friends are horrified when they find out she doesn’t have health insurance. She replies, “My health insurance is what I put into my mouth.”
Even if you don’t want to eat a largely raw diet, switching to whole foods goes a long way. (Don’t eat anything from a box, can, bag, or jar.) Get more alkaline by eating more greens (salads, green smoothies, wheat grass juice, chlorella, spirulina, blue-green algae). Avoid the worst culprits (wheat, dairy, table salt, sugar, transfats, monosodium glutamate, aspartame).
Also learn to use supplements instead of drugs. When I had hepatitis C, I took several pills of milk thistle three times a day. When I went back for a test, the MD was astonished to find that my liver enzymes were to be envied! My sister was hooked on a prescription drug and when she lost her insurance, if she didn’t keep buying it (spending $200 a month!) she couldn’t sleep at all. When I got her a month’s supply of tryptophane and told her to gradually reduce the drug while taking this supplement, she was finally able to wean herself off the costly meds.
There are other lifestyle factors besides diet that can make a huge difference in one’s health. One of the most important things is to get rid of the toxins in your environment. Get an air purifier and toss the moldy rugs or mattress (especially if you have asthma). Use natural, nontoxic cleaning supplies, makeup, tampons, personal care products, etc.
Exercise is another investment in your health. Vary it so you cover flexibility to prevent injuries and keep the spine youthful (yoga, stretching), endurance and cardiovascular health (walking, running, etc.), as well as strength-building (lifting weights, pushups, etc).
Other factors of health include adequate sleep and rest; supporting relationships; positive thinking; pure air and water; and adequate sunshine during the day so you can absorb Vitamin D.
The truth is that even if you have health insurance, the copayments can bankrupt you if you get a major disease such as cancer and you decide to go the conventional route. (This topic was brought up in the movie Sicko.) And even if you have 100% health insurance, the tendency is to not be proactive in your health. People who have that attitude wait till they get sick, and then expect some pills or surgery to heal them, and then wonder why they never feel good again. Many of these people end up spending a small fortune on alternative therapies that their health insurance didn’t cover (after they realize that the conventional route didn’t really heal them) because they truly want to regain their health.
People tend to leave all of the responsibility for their health to their health insurance. I have come across people who accept jobs they hate simply because they want the health insurance. In San Diego, many teachers are turning down a very generous golden handshake because they don’t want to lose their health insurance.
People are selling their souls for their health insurance because they don’t realize that if they change their lifestyle, they can be in near complete control of their health! What is really needed is not universal health insurance, but universal health education.
Take responsibility for your health. You may find, after a year or two (as I have), that you go to the doctor only for the annual checkup to confirm that you are on the right path. You may find (as I have) that you have restored the vigor, energy and radiant health you had decades ago. You may find (as I have) that when you are in control of your health, having no health insurance suddenly doesn’t seem relevant.
Susan Schenck, LAc, is a raw food coach, lecturer, and author of The Live Food Factor, The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet, known as the encyclopedia of the raw food diet. Go to [http://www.livefoodfactor.com] to get a free chapter from her book.
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