It's January. Do you know how your health is?
In just under two weeks I turn 69. That means I've been on this blue-green (mostly) ball for enough time that in my own country, America, I should be taking at least five prescriptions every single day, on average. To that:
It's big business.
A good doctor, I repeat, a GOOD doctor, will challenge symptoms they see which mimic dementia or aging. They will look at the range of meds you and I are taking, and rather than pile on MORE meds which add MORE symptoms and side effects and debilitate us further, they remove said meds, with proper protocols. More on that in a sec. Please see:
As I begin the first year of my seventh decade, it's also common if not completely predictable that folks my age will abuse and misuse Over the Counter (OTC) drugs, which have an unfortunate habit of mixing with scripts, causing seriously dangerous side effects:
Every time I go to see a caregiver I am asked how many times I've fallen in the last month or so. The expectation that I HAVE fallen is part of the problem. Truth? If I fall it's from balance work, running on rocks downhill, or doing pretty extreme sports. Not from addling my brain. However the medical community assumes that due to my age I am falling, regularly, and am a health risk to myself.
This is so common it's considered normal. There is nothing at all normal about deteriorating so rapidly in a body so well-designed to live well and long that it's a ripe insult to Mother Nature.
Let me clearly state: if we weren't subjecting our population to all these drugs and if we didn't treat OTC drugs like the candy they aren't, we wouldn't be falling so much. However let me add to this more specifically:
When we medicate our older folks and ourselves with such drugs to the point where we are addled, lose our balance and lose our ability to function, all too many doctors simply layer on another med to help improve brain function.
Whatever happened to "do no harm?"
Don't get me started.
At my age, every time I see a new caregiver, I get the fall question, and then a look of surprise when I answer the medication question. My VA file has a list of meds that I have taken on occasion over the years, or very rarely as needed, such as for a very temporary itching spell. That might be once a year, if ever. Yet too many doctors look at that list and assume I am taking all those meds all the time.
Not on your life, I'm not.
My life, more like. I take one med for migraines, and the other for my A1C, which is metformin. The first is critically necessary; the other I have researched so thoroughly that at least for now I'm convinced it's benign. For now.
As promised, let's touch on "proper protocols."
Back in 2019, I identified some thirty-five separate and discrete symptoms which had no business presenting given my eating and exercise habits. I listed them on a spreadsheet, then researched all my meds. There was a direct line to every single symptom.
I promptly informed my caregivers that I was starting a detox protocol. Not negotiable. I took my time, cut my pills down slowly to nothing, and within three months all the side effects from brain fog to confusion to sensitivity to bright lights disappeared.
ALL of them.
My doctors, often without working with each other, had all acted within acceptable protocols. Those "acceptable protocols"- despite my athletic discipline, my excellent diet, doing all the right and important things- were crippling and aging my body and my brain. My PCP at the time was shocked at the difference not only in my health but also the fact that what she was assuming was good practice was, in fact, killing me off slowly.
I refer to this as Medically-Induced Aging.
Big health profits when we decline, so Big Health (more properly referred to as Big Sickness for Profit) pours pills down our throats, we get more and more ill, they make more and more money as we load script after script into our bodies.
I don't argue that some pharmaceuticals are life-saving. I am taking one myself. However I would posit that were we not so ill from our diets and sedentary habits most of those pharma products would be unnecessary in the first place. Think of all the jobs lost if we got healthy!
But this is only a fraction of the problem. Dr. Robert Lustig, among others like Gary Taubes, has written extensively about how the Western diet, full of sugars and chemicals and ultra-processed food, has addled the Western brain. Not only that but we have allowed all the Bigs (corporations, food, pharma and health) to corral us into lousy diets, dependency on pricey and life-ending pharmaceuticals that too many can't afford anyway, while attacking us for being lazy, obese slobs for eating food that is so addictive that we can't stop.
You don't have to agree with me. However, you can just go to your bathroom and look in the mirror. If you aren't eating well, exercising regularly, and skipping most alcohol as well as strictly limiting what Rx and OTC meds you take, you know it. And you show it, too.
No amount of delusional "I'm doing just fine, Sparky" is going to change your body, the unhealthy extra fat or the bones sticking out from eating disorders, the wan expression, the lousy skin, lack of energy, exhaustion, the confused expression, whatever it is that is staring back at you.
You'll note that I did not and will never state nor imply that one has to be thin to be healthy. Healthy is healthy. Big folks are healthy too. You know the difference when you are too big that you can't be in life. Or too tired or sick or whatever.
You know it.
Everything is not all right and you and I both know it.
This is particularly true if you're in your twenties, and you're already consumed by bad food, sedentary habits and alcohol. They are eating YOU. Not the other way around. Alzheimer's can begin in our second decade and the long slide downhill gets faster as we age and the less we care for ourselves.
America is at war over your health, for your health means money: money and profits for all the Bigs, including all those bigs whose products you and I waste our lives addicted to like social media, TV, cell phones and all the rest. They pummel us with ads for junk we shouldn't eat, for medications to fix us when we eat badly, then hospital care for when we get so sick it's tubes time for months and years, then hospice care at ten grand a month while Big Sick Care sucks the money out of the family trust, what there is of it. Then we get to dance with Big Funeral care, the last and final parasite in the process when we are most vulnerable.
The sad part about all this is that the majority of the illnesses we are experiencing, the problems that are dogging us, are well within our ability to change, improve, clear up all on our own. That, however, requires that we forfeit bad food, challenge our doctors and nurses and pharma folks, take care of our health IN SPITE of the bad food, bad advice, junk science, nutritional Nazis with zero qualifications and our own embarrassing gullibility to all of it.
I've been there too, as in, gullible. I have poured plenty of crap down my gullet in an effort to lose weight, get ripped, be healthy. Ultimately, the simplest answers ARE the answers. I did clear up my food, my health, my meds, all of it.
Simple real food. Simple real exercise. No alcohol. No drugs. Limited RX, given that we all have bad days, accidents and pure bad luck including some genetic influences (not much, around 7%, but that can wreak havoc).
This is a war on you and me. Our health, our wallets, our lives, eyeballs and attention. In no uncertain terms.
I'm a military veteran. I see the war on our health in very stark terms. You and I can succumb to attrition, which is how most wars are won. No single battle alone, as marvelous as they may be in the movies, tends to win wars. Disease, death, dysentery, desertion have a lot more to do with protracted conflicts, as well as access to a supply line. To that, and to better understand why ours is a declining society:
We were once a great healthy nation. We are an embarrassment. We are number one in a great many categories which I would prefer to not to list here because I want to keep this on a positive note. The pandemic has in every single way ripped the fabric off the face of what we are doing to ourselves.
That positive note, offered by this aging military veteran, this greying athlete who made so many of the same mistakes, is that you can I can take our lives in hand. YES it's a daily battle against constant messaging around food, around dumb science, and fear-driven politics and hate.
It IS a daily battle to keep our eyeballs off toxic social media.
The price we pay for daily stress is enormous. We can turn that off. We do not have to consume toxic waste all day long not only in our food but also our mental, intellectual and emotional food.
You and I have to fight that war minute-to-minute, second-to-second, every single day of our entire lives. The odds are against us if we spend too much time on our devices and watch too much television. They are with us when we retreat, regroup, re-prioritize and take our health in hand.
Find and read those authors. Lustig, Taubes, Nina Teicholz; there are plenty of people calling crap on the crap we eat, the pills we pile into our bodies, the bad science and junk nutrition. Always follow the money. When there is a study telling you that sugar is oh so innocent, follow the money behind the doctors and the studies. Question your meds. Do the due diligence. You are THE only one who can be your own best health advocate.
Read the articles. Here's another.
I did. You can. I won't tell you it's easy. But this vibrantly healthy aging veteran is healthy because of a different set of choices, the same ones many of us can still make. If you read the authors that all the Bigs hate the most, those writers whose work tends to be vilified by those who have the most to lose if you and I reclaim the vibrant health which is our birthright, chances are you'll be in good hands.
And out of the clutches of those who do not have your good health in mind, other than to ruin it for profit.
I am a warrior.
My body is my own, my health is my own to protect, and I plan to win it. This is not a war you and I can afford to lose.
I want you to win yours, too. Live long. Live well. Laugh hard. Love deeply.
We cannot do that if we are sick, dying, demented and full of tubes.
I am a warrior.
Is it time to fight for your health?