Taking Off The Blinkers


Low-tech intervention can can be a powerful health improver.

14489053-patient-care-health-care-and-medicine-symbol-od-medical-illness-prevention-with-a-growing-green-treeJUST RECENTLY WHILE stressing about the procedure of CPR after our training session on the new defibrillator at my work place, one of my colleagues offered some reassuring advice, which gave me a new and valuable perspective on the whole subject: If the person has stopped breathing, they are in fact as good as dead, and therefore, any attempt at resuscitation could only be an advantage – there is nothing to lose by trying.

“We fail to place anywhere near the same emphasis on getting people healthy in the first place.”

I’ve thought a lot about this lately, and it’s been playing on my mind how in these modern times, we make such valiant attempts to bring people back to life, and medicine goes to such extraordinary lengths to prolong life through pharmaceutical and surgical intervention, and yet still we fail to place anywhere near the same emphasis on getting people healthy in the first place.

There is a massive body of research that proves that ‘low-tech’ intervention (diet, exercise, lifestyle) has a powerful impact on improving health, and can even reverse some early stage cancers, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Advances in medicine have not just been about surgery and drugs, though it seems that these are the only ones we hear about.

“It would be silly to suggest that when someone is having a heart attack it’s the time to talk to them about green smoothies and eating more vegetables.”

923_382379168510440_725034434_nThere is no denying the fact that ‘high tech’ intervention (drugs and surgery) has a part to play in modern medicine. It would be silly to suggest that when someone is having a heart attack it’s the time to talk to them about green smoothies and eating more vegetables. But once the ‘heroic’ actions have been taken and the ‘high-tech’ interventions (bypass surgery, use of stents) have been delivered, surely that’s the time to start looking at what changes can be made towards long term improved health. If being brought back from the brink of death is not the right time, then when is?

Instead, the patient is sent home with a bag full of drugs and at the very most, some lame and easy to ignore advice on ‘improving’ diet, which is likely to talk about ‘lean meat and ‘low fat dairy’, and limiting donuts and hamburgers to ‘treat foods’. And that’s probably only if they were suffering from heart disease; cancer patients just get a pat on the back and sent out the door, since it would appear that in the eyes of most of the medical professionals, cancer is still viewed as a ‘bad luck’ affliction, for which the only treatment is excision and blasting the body with radiation and powerful drugs.

“When people change their overall manner of eating to a largely whole foods plant based diet, their health improves, at any age”

While we continue to wait for a ‘breakthrough’ for curing heart disease, cancer and other illnesses that cut short so many lives, why aren’t we focusing more on the causes? The research has been done, we know the primary determinates of health and wellbeing, we just need to put into practise what we already know.

10197_10151331237611570_649826811_nResearch shows that when people change their overall manner of eating to a largely whole foods plant based diet, their health improves, at any age. It’s not about going on a diet, it’s about changing our lifestyle, and there’s no different diet to treat different diseases, it’s the same for all. Given the right conditions, our bodies seem to have a remarkable way of healing themselves. And here’s the biggie: the only side effects of adopting this lifestyle are good ones. Which drugs can claim that?

“It’s not about going on a diet, it’s about changing our lifestyle, and there’s no different diet to treat different diseases, it’s the same for all.”

A month or so ago I listened to some interesting speakers when I tuned in to the Food Revolution Summit (along with 65,000 other people world-wide), organised by John and Ocean Robbins of the Food Revolution Network. Over the course of 7 days I listened to about 20 speakers, and looking back now at the notes I made, there’s fuel for quite a few blogs, so keep an eye on the website here and I’ll share some of what I learned.

In the meantime, let me quote Dr Dean Ornish, who suggested that “The act of choosing NOT to do something, invests it in meaning. It’s about quality of life, not just how long we live”. Who could disagree with that? CARRIE STEELE

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *