Health Care at Home
In my previous blog I listed a litany of complaints about the health care system. In this blog, I will talk about some actions I have taken to ensure a healthy lifestyle.
By most standards, I am a health freak. It is not that I always do optimal things nor that I am in perfect health. But I have improved my health considerably in the last ten years or so and my blog is an effort to share my learning.
Over a period of time, I have been consulting doctors and getting lab reports. In order to improve something, one needs a baseline. One measure is to count the number of times a person falls sick. This is very subjective and sometimes deceptive too as major diseases can lurk under seemingly good health. The metrics in the lab reports provide a more objective basis. Based on these metrics I do my own research on possible lifestyle, diet and exercise changes that are needed to get better. I have realized measurable improvements of health over several years.
In my opinion, diet is the primary source of our health issues. After all we are what we eat. I avoid junk food, including all sodas, colas, synthetic additives and preservatives, synthetic sugar substitutes and so on. Where possible I have substituted whole grains for bleached floor, brown rice for white rice, olive oil for peanut oil and so on. I buy organic where I can. About 50% of my personal diet consists of only raw fruits, vegetables and nuts. For example today my lunch consisted of the following (all raw): sprouted moong (green gram), red and yellow bell peppers, Persian cucumbers, broccoli, apple slices, a mango, blue berries, raspberries, almonds and walnuts. I try to consume flaxseed in many different preparations.
Recently I purchased a Vita-mix whole food machine. It is an excellent device for making juices, soups, dips and assorted other things. I highly recommend this product to anyone interested in cooking and especially those who enjoy raw food.
Our teeth play a very important role in our health. It is not just the social consequences of bad breath or discolored teeth; they have a much more profound impact on our lives. Treatments like root canal can do more harm than good in some cases. I have followed a very simple regimen: I make sure to brush at least twice a day and floss after every meal for at least 2-3 minutes. Just flossing alone has made a tremendous difference in my dental health. Recently I also purchased a Panasonic mouth irrigator. This product is available for about $25 at amazon.com and worth its weight in gold.
As I am an IT professional besides being an internet junkie, it is almost certain that my eyesight is weak. However, I have always resisted wearing glasses and never got a pair. I think eyes are the best optical instruments ever designed and they are capable of working under extreme conditions. I have always relied on eye exercises and yoga to keep them in reasonably good condition. I definitely need reading glasses but don't yet wear any. I also do no wear sunglasses even in the sunny locale where I live. I think sunlight is good because we just don't get enough of it in our home and office bound existence.
I have mixed feelings about supplements. If one is deficient in certain vitamins or minerals, it may make sense to take a few supplements until that deficiency is overcome. But I am not sure about the effectiveness of multivitamins. Ideally we should get all our vitamins and minerals from our diet. It is almost impossible to determine the action and interaction of so many different nutrients which are present in foods an isolated in a pill form. Our ancestors did not take any supplements but at least some of them enjoyed perfect health. However, I must admit I have taken certain supplements over the years and they have certainly helped. In particular, Co-Q10 which helped eliminate PVC (premature ventricular contraction, a benign heart condition) and Niacin which helped reduce tri glycerides. I have discontinued use of both.
Our ancestors used to rely a lot on the natural and home remedies. As a result they probably lived a much healthier lives than we do, though our life spans have increased during the last century. Invention of antibiotics and vaccines have reduced deaths due to many infectious diseases. That the overuse of antibiotics is now being seen as a leading cause of super infections is the irony of progress. We are born with amazing healing capabilities. And yet we provide crutches and artificial props in the form of concoctions of harsh chemicals in the mistaken belief that intervention is better than letting the nature take its course. As a result we compromise the very body we want to keep strong and fit for a hundred years.
My favorite home remedies are: turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and garlic for simple infections. Home made yogurt, buttermilk with asafoetida for many stomach ailments. There are a few commercial preparations that have become standard faire at our home. These are:
As a family, we have almost eliminated consumption of any prescription medicines. Neither of my kids, ten and six years old, have had to take antibiotics, ever.
We do consult doctors on a regular basis, but we tend to pay more attention to their diagnosis and much less to prescription. But once I have confirmed a diagnosis, subsequent course of action depends on my own research. Nobody knows my body, diet and lifestyle better than myself. Best course of action often depends more on these factors and less on a formulaic prescription. An average doctor does not have enough time or patience to take into account all these factors. My source of information:
Curezone - Lot of information, user contributed information, first hand reports etc.
WebMD - Information about diseases, medicines
FDA - US Food and Drug Administration
Allayurveda - Information about Ayurvedic medicines and principles
Yahoo groups - Individual ailment discussion groups
Our modern lifestyle almost ensures that we need to exercise on a regular basis in order to maintain good health. I try to get at least 45 minutes of 3-4 days a week, mostly on a treadmill. I probably need more flexibility and strength training, but I guess I will get there. While my lifestyle and diet do provide major benefits, exercise provides a further boost to it. My tri-glycerides have been high for the last several years. I have noticed that they come down measurably whenever I exercise regularly and go easy on simple carbohydrates and fat.
Yoga and meditation provide benefits to body, mind and spirit. I am still struggling to incorporate these into my daily routine. When I do that, my at-home health care should be complete.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this article is not medical advice. Please do your own research and always consult a physician for your health concerns. If I am mentioning certain brands and products here, it is because I found them to be useful, not because I derive any benefits from this mention.
Health Care at Home
- » Published on March 08, 2009
- » Type: Opinion
- » Filed under: