THE STATE OF AMERICA
"God Bless America. Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her,
from the night, with the light, from above . . . ."
Oh, how proud I am to be an American! I know we have domestic and foreign turmoil; but overall, I really believe I have been born into the greatest country in the world.
At first the reader might ask, "what's so great about it?" If so, I challenge you to tell me of your comparison. People who have lived or traveled outside of this country will quickly remind you of the many blessings that we Americans sometimes take for granted. Although many things come to mind, the main word that I think of is "FREEDOM."
We have the personal right to quit school, go to college, to work hard, or to not pursue our full human potential. Last time I read, I didn't see boat people literally dying to get into any other country, except our beloved United States.
Let's get one thing straight. I feel blessed - socially, economically, intellectually and religiously to have been born in this country. Oh, I know there could be improvements made in racial equality; but overall, I wouldn't trade this country for any other one. The average income in Nicaragua was $20 per year in 1993. So, in my opinion, if you can't "make it" in this country, you would find it to be much more difficult anywhere else.
Yet, for many years I have listened to the countless stories of peoples' lives and their stories. Tales of how doctors couldn't find their health problem' that is, the real cause of their pain. Or, even with two parents working, how hard it still is for a family of four to make ends meet. People are overtired, in debt and have no reserves left to find joy in each day. They find it even harder to see the "big picture" as to where their family's future will be. The American dream still eludes them. They sigh, and talk about how things were simpler for their parents forty years ago. If you talk to grandparents, times were harder with the War and the Depression, but most would agree that society was more simple back then. Maybe the cost of progress has been too high and the price to pay too steep.
When I was a paper boy, I remember almost everybody had vegetable gardens in their backyards. Most homes were just getting their first television set (black and white, of course) and people walked more often. There were not any malls, so people walked downtown to shop. Most moms didn't work so Dad had the family's one vehicle. Consequently, the kids walked to school, to dances, or to basketball practice. Without a second vehicle, children were limited as to how many activities they could participate in. In fact, there were even less activities from which to choose. Perhaps, the key idea is that with progress came "choices."
Instead of sitting on the front porch to watch lightening storms all nestled together, one child is playing on the computer, another is on the telephone in their room while mom is also on the phone. The family unit has been pulled apart and the infrastructure of the American Society has felt its shock waves.
With progress has come more TV, less reading and less exercise. More fast food chains but less home grown fruits and vegetables. More comforts and greater incidence of obesity, heart disease, stroke and cancer. More autos and less fish in our streams and less fresh air. More home developments but less room for Nature and her inhabitants. In conclusion, more "choices" which have resulted in more divorces, less personal intimacy, more toys and less inner peace, more preservatives and additives and a deteriorating health system.
Oh, we may live longer, but visit and growing number of nursing homes to see if the quality of life is any better. I have walked their halls and spoken to the staff and the daily diet of different medications sometimes leaves an unhappy old person quiet and pliable, which benefits the overall establishment. In fact, the health of the average American is worse now than it was fifty years ago as compared to citizens of other countries. We put ourselves on the shoulder when we see lesser incidence of polio, diabetes and several other diseases. Yet, the scientific community is aghast at the increase of suicide, overuse of antibiotics and a varied array of diseases that no magic pill can cure.
The American people know that the current health care system isn't working and they are looking for alternatives. They are more educated and are no longer afraid to question "authority". They know that the cure does not lie in a pill, but in a change of lifestyle. Some have called it a "paradigm shift", where in 1993, 37 million more Americans according to "USA Today", made more doctor visits and paid more money out of their pockets to alternative medicine than to their traditional doctors. They have looked to the other side of the fence only because the present bill of goods they have been sold did not solve their problems.
The average American spends more money on healthcare than any other person on this planet. So, with our sophisticated "science" you would deduce that we are the healthiest country in the world - right? Not so. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) America is not #1 out of 272 industrialized countries. In fact, we aren't even close. We come in a miserable 54th! This astounded me when I first read it. Remember, I love this country. We are the best in many areas, but why not health?
The answer is that we have focused our energies on crisis care, rather than preventative care. Even though our present system has flaws, I would rather have surgery (if needed) done in America than in any other country. In Canada, where socialized medicine has eroded its healthcare system, many Canadians come across the border to America for their surgeries. Indeed, one report states that 90% of Canadians go South for their surgery.
Yet, the case can be made that when a patient spends thousands of dollars of insurance money on hospital x-rays, MRI's, CAT Scans and months of medication and physiotherapy, and yet their pain persists and the doctor tells them "there's nothing wrong with you", something is amiss. In some cases, lingerers or psychological problems may exist, but in many cases, it's simply proof that our diagnostic machines are just not good enough. In fact, at the prestigious Mayo Clinic, the best diagnosticians are wrong 60% of the time. How do you think the average local doctor would stack up in diagnosing your aliments?
Let's make ourselves clear. We each live in a glass house, so nobody should throw stones at someone else. It is not our own personal biased views we share at this time, but a collection of data that we have researched to verify our conclusions. There are many articles that will attest to the fact that the old medical ship in this country is sinking, and that a newer Wellness model must be embraced if the health of our people in this country is going to improve. So not our words, but listen to the medical researchers themselves.
According to the Dean of the University of the Arizona College of Pharmacy, we spend "$75 billion dollars a year on our present use of medications and another $76 billion a year on the side-effects due to such medications." His facts are astounding. He goes on to say that "two million people per year are hospitalized due to such side-effects." He adds that "40% of people who take a prescribed drug get at least one other drug-related problem, 23% of the time the drug doesn't help at all, and 11% of the time a complete new problem will result due to the medication." These facts are sobering. Let's go on.
. . . . . . Children need to learn, at an early age, how to cope
with society's stresses without going for a pill.
Our politicians have declared a war on the so called drugs of abuse like cocaine, heroin and the like because they kill 10,000 people per year. People are outraged by this heinous drug problem. But, take a guess, just take a guess how many people die every year in America due to prescribed medications and their side-effects? Did you glance ahead? Well the shocking number is 140,000 people per year! Yet there is no public outcry, because such numbers are quenched by the powerful pharmaceutical companies. Let's put these numbers into perspective.
That is more people than the deaths each year from homicides, suicides, car accidents, and AIDS deaths; combined! Or, it is equivalent to three jumbo jets crashing every two days for an entire year! If we had that many plane crashes each year, there would be a huge investigation to stop such a lethal practice. Yet we citizens of this great country have been so indoctrinated into just accepting what television commercials tell us to do.
Remember, it's not our words, it's from the Dean of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy -- his facts are unbiased. Our research articles can go on forever.
A study in Israel showed that flu shots actually lowered a person's antibody level as compared to people who never received flu shots.
70% of geriatric specialists flunked a test on what medications to prescribe to seniors.
Ten radiologists were given the same 150 mammograms, and they all only agreed on 7% of the films. 10% of the time they even concluded that the other breast had the involved problem!
In the New England Journal of Medicine it is documented that doctors agree that the use of aspirin to prevent heart attacks should stop because of its significant increased risk of bleeding ulcers and strokes. Yet the pharmaceutical companies sales have doubled, since aspirin is used as a "preventative' measure.
I think you get our point. There is astounding evidence that the old medical model is not working in this country, and the future doctors will be integrated doctors who will embrace the notion of the body's ability to heal itself. In the magazine entitled "Trends", they state that "since traditional doctors can only help 20% of our present diseases, the future integrated doctors will prescribe laughter, hope, and faith for the body to heal itself."
A little more? Two million people per year are infected in hospitals, which represents a 36% increase in the last ten years.
80% of people arrested are on drugs (abusive) or alcohol. How much of our tax money goes towards those incarcerated people? Hopefully, you will finally agree with us that there must be a better way for America.
Don't allow the commercials on television to give you a perceived sense of happiness and peace if you buy their product. God has endowed you with health, vitality, and peace. It is already within you. Children need to learn, at an early age, how to cope with society's stresses without going for a pill.
Enough said; we spend too much, our diagnoses are far from accurate and the side effects are monstrous which have allowed many Americans to become more progressive about their health. People want to know more about their options. People want to take responsibility for their own health actions. And they are prepared to pay out of pocket for it. If their managed care HMO-PPO doesn't have the doctor to its list, or the patient simply pays to go to the doctor of his/her choice. People, one at a time, are changing the Health Care System in America. I relate to it as a "Silent Revolution".
So, America is in a state of change. A hundred years ago, health practitioners expounded philosophies of a 'healing force within the body that heals itself" (D.D. Palmer-1895). Now great acclaim goes to Deepak Chopra who teaches a harmony that is non-existent to a Western starved society. More recently, Dr. Weir has been atop the list with a balanced approach of both Eastern and Western ideologies. Gravity existed a long time before an apple fell on Sir Isaac Newton's head. Universal principles of health and healing have been prac6iced in other countries for many years, with great success. The skeptic, scientific, western mind will say, "show me double-blind studies to prove that your theory is accurate". Yet, they are unaware that 85% of present medical practices in America have no double-blind studies to prove their efficacy. Rather, I propose, let's simply look to those countries whose citizens have less depression, less heart attacks, less divorce, less strokes, less cancer, less diseases and are more in Wellness Care and a day by day healthy life to see what they are doing right.
This table refers specifically to Cardiovascular Disease, which is the main killer in industrialized countries, killing one out of every two people! Those countries that have a higher diet of vitamin rich fruits and vegetables have less incidence of heart disease.
Let's look at this scenario. In this country where our sports stars are paid millions, does this make sense? One team that pays its squad the most money comes in sixth place consistently. Yet another team who pays its players less comes in first regularly. Should we keep spending money to try to change the first system that isn't effective? Or, should we look to the successful team, observe what it is they are doing right and implement those success strategies to improve our old unsuccessful ways? In America we pay more per capita for our health care system, yet we are far from the top. Perhaps we should look to those countries who have less expensive health care systems, yet they have adhered to some "old fashioned" ways of eating better. Let's look to copy other successful health patterns to benefit this young country.
Well, that is exactly what the American people are doing. They are opening their minds to understand alternative ways to live healthy. They are tired of taking pain killers and muscle relaxants for the quick fix. They are taking vitamins more, watching their diets and trying to do the best they can to live a longer and healthier life.
Yet, many need help to leave one system and make the transition into another. That is one purpose of this book. I will not knock down any present or past health practices, but simply some were mentioned to give the reader a perspective of the unknowing lack of health in America. Life is a process. We all strive to do the best we can. Past and present doctors and practices are doing what they believe to be best for the patient. But, it is the purpose of this book to inspire the reader to think more provocatively and to make decisions for themselves and their families which they believe are best. Turn off the television, read a book like this one, or watch an educational video that will present the most recent trends in American healthcare, don't have to look far -- go look in the mirror. And if you're not happy with that -- blame the culprit. Chances are, if you're reading this you have taken years to nurture and mold a body of soft muscles, a weak heart, and lungs as strong as wax paper sandwich bags. It doesn't have to be that way.
He worked hard to support his family. Smoking helped calm his nerves from the worry of the ever constant demand of the rising costs in all aspects of life. Coffee was one of his few pleasures that he indulged in frequently from morning to night. Coffee also helped wash down that plaster dust at work all day long. Tasty cakes and lunch meat sandwiches comprised most breakfast, lunch, and snacks, with either fried steak, pork or burgers for the main entree for his evening meal.
The coal furnace always needed tending to apart from the ever demanding chores that go along with an old house. His marriage for the past 15 years has been in name only. The youngest of his brood had no respect for him and caused him grief that stressed him to the point of almost daily night time drinking. Many times I heard him say that he'd be lucky to live to be 50. Nine months past his fiftieth birthday while at work, he bent down in the course of labor and a main artery to his heart exploded; detaching itself. Anything done or anything that could have been done could not save this man.
Short & Long Term Effects
The next time you're stressed, just remember, the grim reaper is smiling. Don't worry! Yeah, that's easy for me to say. Just relax, stay calm -- worry won't make the outcome of any situation any different except maybe for the reaper.
Let's talk about your attitude. If you would like to reduce some stress, try being humble and passive for a change, there's no law saying you always have to voice your opinion. Even though you think or know you are right and have the most valid point -- say nothing. Accept the situation or conversation and watch others battle the point. Most time these combat conversations are pointless and ridiculous anyway. The winner or the one to get the last word in is the one who usually gets, produces, and receives the most stress. If conversation leads to arguments, the residual effect of the stress can last hours, days and even lifetimes.
Don't you believe me? Why would I lie? Even if you think a white lie here and there is OK and no one gets hurt -- think again. If your make-up constitutes even a hint of conscience, you will be the one to get hurt. All those so-called innocent infractions will add up to equal worry, headache, paranoia, indifference, etc. The stress, depending on its degree or intensity, can and will manifest itself in physiological conditions such as gas, diarrhea, chills, lethargy, etc. So, to help reduce some of the stress in your life, it might pay to be straight forward and up front. The truth can set you free.
Stress hits you from all sides, inside and out, from morning till night. Not being able to deal with stress effectively will surely, most definitely shorten your life. Even if the rest of your life is in order (diet-rest-exercise) and the stress factor is not under control then you will be lucky to live a half life. A half life; which is about what the average life expectancy is at this writing. Listen! Don't expect me to be average, no matter what you expect. I truly believe that the inability to control stress is the most unhealthy of all unhealthy habits.
"Smoke Um if you got Um"
Ms. Jones, a resident of a Daytona, Fl. Personal Care Home, is on constant O2 for COLD (Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, i.e. Asthma, Emphysema). She disconnects herself from her oxygen and then wheels herself to the front porch for a smoke; a routine repeated a few times daily.
Mr. Smith, a surgical outpatient of the VA just had a lung removed because of cancer; was spotted lighting up outside the hospital's front doors seconds after his release.
Tom, 30 years younger than Smith or Jones, could be seen almost constantly in this facility's smoking lounge, smoking through his tracheal tube -- heaving on the very poison that gave him throat and larynx cancer.
Being impressionable at a young age of 10 1/2, I was AWE-struck as I watched little Berry Juda who was a grade ahead, heave and puff a cigarette in the back of the bus. I thought - WOW! Look at that! When Berry played basketball with the guys, we would take breaks between games so he could smoke. After that, most of us would go to Cheapie's Store for soda, and to shoot the breeze. Cheapie didn't mind, he knew he'd eventually get every nickel you had. Being the business man he was, he sold Lucky Strikes out of the pack; 2 for 5 cents plus a free pack of matches. Cheapie would do tricks for a nickel. After a low profile purchase I headed a half block away to hide behind some vegetation on the culm banks where I proceeded to get hooked on this hand me down habit.
My lungs were never quite the same since then. My circle of habits started to determine my circle of friends. I was a slave to those little sticks of poison. My aerobic life was over -- I began fighting to breathe after short mild exertions. Regular non-activity labored breathing became the norm. I wanted to be as cool as the two year older dummy numbskulls that I idolized. If you smoke and you don't quit -- forget about a long, hearty, healthy life, period.
. . . . . . My circle of habits started to determine
my circle of friends.
(Spit cups of muck)
It still amazes me that so many work places and people in upper management condone as well as participate in chewing and smoking. The deep roots and far reaching tentacles of nicotine have so embedded themselves in our society that 100% of the hooked generations will not and may never know how great life is for real -- that feeling of well-being will never be felt.
"Chewing tobacco" or "Chew" reminds me of rat poison mixed with sugar. A poison flavored to taste. We all know that it's poison and that it harms us in many ways; so many ways. Are we weak? Are we dim? Or both?
One for the Road
Daddy used to say, "If you're gonna have one, you might as well have ten." I guess he meant, don't start! I believe alcohol consumption in any form of any quantity to be virulent, injurious, performance impairing, and demoralizing. Even moderate intake is low level destruction to body functions.
A man who drinks, never thinks, of what tomorrow may bring.
I myself started off as a very moderate, occasional drinker. But when I turned 12, these episodes increased in number, intensity, and amount consumed until the night before that not too long ago fateful day. A pint of rum and a six-pack of beer was consumed at home just to prime me up before going out to dance and party. I ended up in a pancake house at 3 a.m. demanding brains be served to me.
Alcohol turned Beauty into the Beast
You may be going downhill slowly with gradual decaying skills. A lot of studies done to promote the virtues of alcohol are either funded by the alcohol manufacturers or someone looking for any excuse to tip that bottle.
When you're shined, you're never worried.
Drinking ruined many a man's or woman's life. You don't need to be a chronic abuser. One night love affairs with the bottle can do this. If you don't drink, don't start; if you do, please be forewarned that this habit could take you out of control of your life at any given opportunity. The devil is waiting patiently for you to let your guard down.
Small Black, One Sweetener
I have a love/hate relationship with coffee. I'm not totally impartial to this habit, although I believe this to be one of my last vices. I've cut down to two morning cups to date. There's no denying that I get stimulated from that first cup; UMMM, the smell, the taste. If I overindulge, I get jittery, jumpy, nervous and slightly paranoid; also quick to snap or be rude without thinking.
A co-worker related an incident to me about his experience with over consumption of the black brew. Seeing that he had to work a double, he also doubled his coffee intake on that second shift to stay awake; add to that the coffee he had previously consumed on first shift. Toward the end of his shift, he started experiencing a kind of numbness in his arms and legs. Barely making the drive home, he had even a harder time exiting his car. He felt like his legs were made of lead as he struggled to make it into the house. As soon as he sat down in the kitchen, his fingers curled up along with his hands and arms, involuntarily contracting and freezing in that position. It wasn't until the ambulance escorted him to the medical center and he received the appropriate injection that the effects of caffeine overload were counteracted.
Alas, this poor fellow is still smoking and drinking coffee at an alarming rate; he wrote that incident off to many hours of work -- . . . . .the fool!
Caffeine is not the only compound found in coffee that is harmful. Long term heavy usage has been suggested in kidney disorders, prostate, bladder, and liver problems, possible, cancers, and a major player in high blood pressure. Drank in moderation, I'm not so sure of all the negatives. But, just how natural and healthy is this pseudo semi-precious black gold? You be the judge.
Slow down, take it easy, relax! The problem with slowing down is you're very near stopping. Complete absence of movement too often can be addicting and lead to laziness. Constantly being in a state of laziness is fine if you are satisfied with a mere meager sheltered existence. Much like a dog's life where the only time you move is to keep from wetting your pants or when you hear MA-MA fill your food bowl. Quit thinking about life and go live it. Pace yourself but be wary of what you're headed for if you get caught on the easy path of least resistance, the next level down.
. . . . . . Pace yourself, but be wary of what you're headed for
if you get caught on the easy path of least resistance, the next level down.
Push me and I'll go, pull me and you might get a hernia. Probably the biggest thing about being in a semi-comatose state is the acquisition of surplus body fat. All that fat doesn't really serve a normal purpose except if we were to face starvation or famine, not likely in this day and age. How did many of us get this way? If you got to know, ask the still life in the mirror.
These large potatoes are usually grown in an area where there are no other potatoes. Likely because they need so many nutrients to flourish; two cannot survive side by side. Night time seems to be when they grow most often as their root system takes hold. Since they're segregated, they thrive in size but are often irregularly shaped and bottom heavy, this is where most soft spots are also found. Although these huge spuds are help in place by their immense size and gravity, there have been reports of people who might have seen them move. One theory is that if some are grown on an incline and attain a near round shape and if a strong wind catches them just right, they can and will roll.
So, if you plan on growing and raising a few of these couch potatoes, be sure to have a super-strength industrial sized potato bin on hand. Also make sure to have good floor foists with extra supports if you plan on having more than a few collected in one spot. Now, if these potatoes are left to set too long before they're picked they can become permanently attached and need an act of God to move them. On closing, I'd like to apologize to any potatoes that took this section personally.
More Progress=Less Life
We lost all of our innate abilities and primitive instincts. Our bodies have gone soft through the so-called process of progressive civilization. Evolution is taking place right now to adapt to a non physical, stress induced lifestyle. There is an upward trend in "unnatural selection". Survival skills are a thing of the past, non existent or very minimal in the modern world.
Records, other than crude drawings, fossils and speculation, are hearsay and unreliable on specifications of longevity in primitive days. Early demise usually came from accidents, predators, exposure, starvation, or dehydration. Early man was strong and virile; strong to fight big animals. He had endurance to walk miles in search of fruits and nuts. He had to have highly innate extinctive abilities to survive -- how else could he educate himself to the facts?
Everything he ate was raw. Well' progressive development took place, was it for the betterment of the human race? Was a more advanced stage of development better for mankind? Could it be possible that a wrong turn was taken way back then? First and only; there was raw fruit and roots. Then along came fire; to make food better? I'm afraid not -- it killed and continues to kill all enzymes and nutrients. Then came salt, dried and dehydrated foods, canning, preservatives, and other life draining, death enhancing process procurements. With each so-called stride, our death rates rose along with many new disease processes; 20,000 plus, since progressive development started with the discovery of fire. More progress equals longer life -- speaking pro medical -- at the expense of the quality of your life through modern medical life extending measures.
A Look at Other Countries
One of the biggest things I've noticed in other countries was that most led a simple life (so it seemed to me at the time). No cars or phones, hardly a "TV" to be found and the complete absence of most modern conveniences that we as Americans take for granted. How then; how can these people get along so well and get to be so old minus any maladies?
Well.. . . .right off the bat I can think of two responses; the ;more you have, the more you want. I guess you're never satisfied. And anything added into your life is just another thing to worry about. Why complicate matters, right?
A lot of European countries have a national health and life care policy. The governments afford everyone the same care, regardless of their financial profiles. They do this through subsidizing, as deemed necessary, on the clients ability to pay. Older citizens do not have to worry if they can afford a quality nursing home - it is taken care of.
Another value not found much in this country is family closeness. I'm not talking of divorce and estranged broken families although I'm sure America tops the list. I'm talking about when members of a family grow up. They grow apart as well. They relocate and are usually split and sub-split. Other countries don't see this multiple family split and go. Sometimes being a phone call away is just not the same as being there.
. . . . . . Sometimes being a phone call away
is just not the same as being there.
Just want to touch on some eating habits of people in Europe and Asia. Most have a hearty breakfast. Their lunch meal is their main meal. They eat light or just snack at night. This is a good habit and a good strategy to control your body weight.
So, where's the Love? The way of life in the United States today is; to be on guard, not because we don't want to trust people but because statistics show us odds are high that people are non-trustworthy, not to mention the proof in the news as well as the proof in the growing populations of our prisons. The absence of love for our fellow man leaves us as a nation open to a plethora of negative emotions.
So, if you can conclude that at least some improvement can be made in your personal and family health choices, then travel along these pages a little further. Twenty years ago, the bottom line in many families was how much money a job brought home. But, now the bottom line is more inclusive. People want to find fulfillment in their jobs, intimacy in their marriages, closeness with their children and even explore the dance in Nature which will bring them greater harmony in their own lives. If you desire more joy, more energy and greater passion in life, then continue.
But, I caution you. Enter my world with a spirit of open-mindedness. Any coach loves a coachable athlete. The best athletes usually are those who work hard at following their coaches' instructions. I will offer you the best my heart and experience can offer; yet it is teamwork, where you must make the mental decision to act if you get a few good ideas from this book. I'll do my best, give me yours, and let's have some fun exploring ways to find greater joy in living each minute of every day to the fullest. Life is special. l Let's make the most of it. It is harder to be your best if you are not healthy.
Let's try to be better moms and dads, have greater patience and a deeper love in all of our interactions. We will then be more effective at work and ultimately achieve a stronger sense of well-being. This is not just another book on practical ways to get healthier. I will offer motivational impact along with current holistic approaches which will help you to express your inner power most effectively. Henry Ford once said, "We can learn from our own experiences. But a smart man learns from the experiences of others".
Open your mind. Better yet, open your heart. Don't become old too soon and smart too late. Life will give you what you ask of it if you give it all you have. Just make sure you ask the right questions. Questions such as: How can I live a life of character so that I will have the proper self-esteem to be motivated from within on a daily basis to take charge of my life? How can I fulfill my present responsibilities and yet have a reserve of energy so that I could find time for exercise and get back the fuller life that seems to elude me? No matter what my present income, can I become debt-free and reduce the stress in my family's life? Am I a part of the Silent Revolution where my entire family is doing proactive measures to stay well and prevent sickness and disease? With better health, less financial stress and greater family harmony, can I attain an inner peace which will make me immune to the storms of everyday living?
To all these questions and many more I answer with a resounding "YES." Read on, it should be exciting.
A Labor of Love by. . .