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healthcare vs. medical care.

April 11, 2017

“Many people mistakenly believe that healthcare is synonymous with medical care. Health is, to a large degree, a matter of personal responsibility that must be exercised within the limits of genetic endowment. Educational achievement, income, and environment are also important factors.” – W.R. Barclay, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), from the article, “Editorial: Hypertension: a major medical care challenge,” published in 1976.

You want to be healthy? Take responsibility for yourself. Yes, it’s true that some of us will never be as healthy as others. We are born with different “genetic endowments,” as Barclay called them.

Also, if you are poorly educated, not earning much income, and are living in a dangerous environment, it will be harder for you to take responsibility for your health. Harder, but not impossible.

Why am I writing about health?

I’m sitting here in the little eating area just off the kitchen. My morbidly obese, diabetic father is sitting at the kitchen counter, trying to sort out his diabetic numbers, how much insulin to take, etc. He is struggling with a LOT of health problems. He just pulled himself out of a diabetic low, and has not been able to stabilize his numbers lately.

He’s also been limping around with a cane, and I can’t keep track of how many different kinds of doctors he sees per month or how many meds he’s currently on.

My mom is getting tired of keeping track of my dad’s multitude of medications, and I will soon be handed that onerous responsibility.

What about me.. my health? I’m between 15 and 20 pounds overweight, with almost all my fat concentrated on my abdomen, and the rest of it on other parts of my torso.

This is not good.

My dad’s health continues to deteriorate. I don’t have much hope for him. He’s 72, in case you are wondering.

I’m 44. I still have some time.

What am I doing about my health?

  1. Working toward being on a mostly vegan diet. I’m going to eat to live, not live to eat.
  2. Starting to regularly practice various forms of meditation to reduce stress.
  3. Getting back into the habit of practicing Tai Chi. Good exercise.
  4. Continuing to walk my dog almost everyday, except during the winter.
  5. Working out at a health club at least three times a week.
  6. Trying to have a better attitude about things.

I NEED to get serious about my health! It is not too late for me.

It is probably not too late for you either.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jan Williams permalink
    September 16, 2018 4:58 PM

    For good health information, I’d suggest reading The Starch Solution, by John McDougall, and The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell.

    I hesitate to make this post, because there is so much information about diet out there, and so much is conflicting. But. . . you can read one of the books or both, and come to your own decision about whether the information in them is convincing.

    I have followed the diets recommended or implied in these books for over five years. I am very satisfied with the pleasure I receive from my food and from the health benefits I get.

    This is the second post of yours I have read. I just discovered your blog today by searching for a Wendell Berry poem. In your post on religious cults, you said one characteristic of a religious cult is (something like this) believing that one’s own religion or philosophy is the only true one. But in many areas of thought, there are certain ideas that ARE the only truth. Such as the fact that the Earth travels around the sun and not vice versa. In some areas, what we should eat for the best health is one of those. I believe that humans have a best diet, just like apes, killer whales, woodpeckers, termites, elephants, hummingbirds, etc.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    Thank you,

  2. Tom Meninga permalink*
    September 19, 2018 1:16 AM

    Thanks for the book recommendations, but these days, I’m just going to eat what I want.

    I find it stressful making major changes in my diet, apparently. Last month, I went vegetarian for over two weeks. Not the smartest thing to do to my body, considering I usually eat meat at least twice a day.

    I was having some abdominal distress for awhile, and talked to my doctor. He said making a big change dietary change can cause the issues I was talking to him about.

    I went back to eating meat, not wanting to stay with the vegetarian diet, and wait it out until the discomfort went away. That might have taken quite awhile. I’ll probably never know.

    There might be an ideal diet for everyone. There’s an author named Michael Pollan, who has written a lot about food. His advice, after doing a great deal of research: Eat food (not “edible food-like substances” – what he calls processed foods), not too much food, and mostly plants.

    Sounds reasonable.

    Yes, sometimes there is a one truth. I think you are right, if what you are referring to is scientific things like those you mentioned in your comment. These things are measurable. Certain hypotheses can be proven false. The scientific one and only truth found.

    Not so with religion.

    Here’s a quote from the estimable Homer J. Simpson – “But Marge, what if we chose the wrong god, and each time we go to church, we make him madder and madder?”

    Yes, there might be a one true faith, and all the others false. That’s possible. But there’s no possible way to know what that one true faith is.

    Claiming to be the one true faith does not make a religion a cult, though. As I explained in my post on what constitutes a cult, there are other factors.

    But it’s bad enough people claim to have the one true faith. This is human nature. Unfortunately.

    I’m glad you let me know how you found my blog. I don’t get many readers, because I do nothing to promote my blog. People occasionally find their way here from time to time.

    The Wendell Berry poem is one of my top posts – has been for years.

    I found the poem in a writing guide called “Bird By Bird,” written by Anne Lamott, Apart from the Berry poem, I hated Lamott’s book – I can’t remember exactly why. However, it is a very popular writers guide.

    At least Lamott established herself as a successful fiction writer before publishing a writer’s guide. Some writer’s guides (many, I’m guessing) have been written by people whose only even mildly successful publication was a writer’s guide. I tend not to read such books.

    I haven’t written much here on the blog recently. But I’ve got over a hundred posts.. maybe 200. I started this blog back in August of 2009, and used to write a lot. Many many topics, as you can see in the tag cloud.

    Thanks very much for your comment! I don’t get many of those. I really appreciate your taking the time to write to me, and thanks for reading my blog.

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