Feb 29, 2012 02:43PM
By Ana Rincon
Despite the easiest access to healthcare and information, and the most advanced medical technology in the world, is the American population any healthier? It doesn’t seem so.
Americans spent $307 billion on prescription drugs in 2010, much of it to control diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, allergies, headaches, depression and digestive problems. Many of these drugs cause side effects that sound worse than the original disease. Have you listened to a television pharmaceutical ad recently? For any given medication, the seemingly endless list of side effects might include liver and kidney damage, bleeding, depression, dizziness, allergic reaction, nausea, or sudden death. And we’re taking these drugs to feel better?
I would never want to deprive Americans of a beneficial prescription drug or medical procedure. They have their place. However, many of the maladies mentioned earlier can be prevented with nutrition and exercise. Given the choice between a lifetime full of drugs, depression and fear of sudden death or blueberries, greens and outdoor fun, which would you opt for?
Hence, “Food & Garden: Changing the Way America Eats” on page 22. Author Melinda Hemmelgarn points to how using local, farm-fresh food not only improves our health, but also our enjoyment, sense of community, environment and security. Americans are expected to spend $7 billion on local farm-to-consumer food this year. It’s not much compared to the $307 billion spent on drugs, but it’s a record number, and a step in the right direction.
If you suffer from any condition linked to chronic inflammation (such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, or atherosclerosis), our Healing Ways column will give you a specific list of foods that may help, and point you to more information from authorities on the subject. We also provide tips for “Eating Well on a Budget” because we don’t believe that price should prevent anyone from making healthy choices.
If you need advice on how to incorporate fresh foods into your diet, just look through our pages for nutritionists, naturopaths, chefs and organic markets waiting to serve you! And as spring approaches, there will be more opportunities to get fresh food direct from the farm. Keep reading Natural Awakenings in print and online throughout the year for listings of farmers markets, farm-to-table restaurants, recipes and other resources.
Wishing you health and happiness,