Healthcare reform starts with individual choices

woman gardening healthcare food medicine
A young woman creating healthcare reform on her own terms

Healthcare reform is a hugely important topic for many Americans. We often fail to realize, though, how much power we have to change healthcare through our own actions.

Our healthcare systems are deeply flawed because of the lifestyles we’ve become accustomed to. The American people eat terrible food and barely exercise. I don’t care what anybody says, personal choices are a key part of healthcare.

Too many people view healthcare as a purely external service as though they are not part of the same interconnected system making choices that impact everyone. This is the lie that Big Pharma wants us to believe.

Everything is connected, but they want you to believe that your health and wellness are purely dependent on what they can do for you. They want you to live unhealthy lives because it creates a constant opportunity to extract profit from you.

The American lifestyle revolves around unhealthy lifestyles and convenient products that satisfy basic urges and create illness so that we’re forced to seek out convenient pharmaceutical cures.

Healthcare vs. sickcare

As Marianne Williamson and many other forward thinkers say, this complex of hospitals and pharmaceutical companies is a sickcare system, not a healthcare system.

Particularly in America and other developed nations, the idea of healthcare revolves completely around hospitals, pharmaceutical drugs, and convenient treatments.

This system thrives on illnesses created by poor lifestyle choices on the part of individuals. Some people have no options outside of these poor choices but many can do better, especially with the food they eat.
As Hippocrates famously said, however, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Not only is the Standard American Diet terrible for us, it’s terrible for the environment. Our production and distribution systems require massive amounts of fossil fuels and industrial chemicals.

Anything that damages the environment also damages us. Better diets make our lives better in a lot of ways.

In discussions about healthcare, there’s little emphasis on healthy diets and other holistic lifestyle choices that are in our direct control.

The media and most politicians are connected to the corrupt political system in which Big Pharma can pay everyone off to promote their agenda.

Your perception is everything

Here’s an illustration of my point from Google trends, the tool that shows the popularity of different search terms in Google:

Healthy diets, herbal supplements, and health supplements rank far below medicine and vitamins.

Google trends is an imprecise measurement, but it gives a good illustration of the general population’s mindset.

These search results make sense given the normie western way of thinking. Powerful corporations have marketed vitamins and pharmaceutical medicine to us as the gold standard for achieving peak health for a long time.

The problem is, most pharmaceutical drugs are basically addictive poison, and most vitamins don’t actually give you any benefits. Healthy diets and herbal supplements are much more effective at maintaining your health.

The advertising effect

If you grew up watching a lot of TV like I did, then you’ve seen countless hours of pharmaceutical ads in between segments of your favorite shows. This conditions us from a young age to view these insane drugs as normal parts of a healthy life.

Furthermore, shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scrubs give hospitals an oversized share of our mindspace and shape our conception of what a healthcare provider looks like.

Meanwhile, the media commonly depicts people who take control of their own health through diet choices and alternative medicine as outcasts and weirdos in tv and film.

TV and Film studios are propaganda factories that collaborate closely with the companies that advertise with them. I wonder how much pharmaceutical companies pay to have their products featured in a movie script🤔

Here is the biggest fact to consider with pharmaceutical companies: If their drugs actually cured you, they would have no business model.

Big Pharma wants you to be addicted to their products so that they have recurring revenue for a long time. if you bought their medicine once and then had no more health problems, that would be a less profitable business.

I don’t mean to completely condemn the western medical system. hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs do have very important uses. If I got in a car crash, for example, I would happily accept the help of surgeons to repair me and opiates to dull my pain.

As soon as possible, though, I would wean myself off the opiates, dive into physical therapy, and add some new supplements to my regimen to help my body restore itself.

My issue with western medical systems is that the majority of people resort to hospitals and pharmaceuticals as a first step rather than making healthy lifestyle choices.

Eat some friggin veggies

For example, here’s a staggeringly significant statistic: $50 billion in healthcare costs come from people’s unhealthy diets.

Eating a poor diet puts you at higher risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks, and many other ailments. Most normie westerners, habituated to a convenience-centric lifestyle, choose to get pharmaceutical drugs and expensive medical procedures like gastric bypass instead of choosing to abstain from fast food and sugary poison.

Normies also love vitamins, and often use them is conjunction with an unhealthy diet. The problem is, most vitamins just get processed through your body without having any positive effects.

It’s much more effective to eat a healthy whole food diet. Our bodies evolved to get nutrients out of food, so eating the right stuff is incredibly important.

Remember Hippocrates’ timeless quote: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

That’s just a fancy philosophical way of saying, “Eat a friggin veggie once in a while goddammit.”

Personal agency

Healthcare is one of many aspects of our society where we’ve been indoctrinated to believe that we have no power and should defer to mainstream authorities who source their credibility from mainstream institutions.

Unfortunately, it’s also undeniably true that all of our mainstream institutions are connected to a web of corruption and profiteering at the expense of the general public.

It’s no secret that big pharma spends obscene amounts of money lobbying congress and paying doctors to prescribe their products.

How can we trust doctors to give us the best advice when they have a direct financial incentive to prescribe more pills? How can we trust healthcare regulations when the pharma lobbyists have powerful influence on their content?

Americans of all classes are under a powerful spell. We’re supposed to view these institutions as the only source of legitimate advice or societal change.

I’m tired of people thinking that we can’t have healthcare reform without congressional action. Congress doesn’t give a fuck about you, me, or anyone else who’s not writing them a check.

Anything that Congress calls “healthcare reform” is just an effort to create new profits for Big Pharma.

You can make choices to reform your own healthcare. Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Start gardening now. If it’s too late to plant, start preparing your beds for next season.

Gardening is great because it’s exercise and it helps you eat healthier. The physical activity makes you healthier and you get healthy veggies for very low monetary cost.
It’s a win-win for you, me, and Mother Earth

Lifestyle changes

Whenever I bring up gardening as a tool for societal change, someone inevitably brings up this criticism:
“But there are people who live in apartments who can’t garden, and some of us have to work all day to pay rent.”

This is obviously true. Modern work culture is fundamentally destructive to human happiness.

Our reliance on convenient goods is largely a result of a work culture in which people are expected to give up the majority of their time and energy doing soul-crushing jobs for the companies that produce the products that are killing us and the environment.

If it was more possible to benefit financially from putting in work to grow your own veggies, people would be more likely to do that work. It’s work that the current economic system considers largely irrelevant because produce is so readily available in all supermarkets.

That’s part of the convenience trap, though. Convenience is hypnosis that makes you forget your ability to provide for yourself and your family.

Convenience is one of the key mechanisms that big industry uses to trap you in their profit schemes.

Here’s how it plays out:

Martha Martinez is a single mother with three kids. She works at a call center during the day and the Arby’s drive-thru at night.

The stress of trying to feed her family and still be a caring mother leads to numerous health problems. This is exacerbated by her diet, about a third of which comes from her free Arby’s meals. She doesn’t have time to cook healthy food for herself or her children because of all the work.

Eventually, she needs to get on blood pressure medication, which gives her negative side effects. Doctors prescribe additional medication for the side effects.

She continues the same work schedule and diet habits because she still has kids to feed. And now she’s also dependent on these pharmaceuticals to preserve her health.

Eventually, one of her kids gets diagnosed as pre-diabetic. More meds and medical expenses. No lifestyle changes.

And so, the cycle continues.

I would never in my life look Martha in the eyes and tell her she should start a garden in the 1 bedroom apartment she shares with her kids. Only a heartless asshole would do that.

But there are many people who have considerably more freedom and opportunity to garden than Martha. These are the people who need to get off their asses and garden. People who work one 9-5 shift, then go home and eat Tostinos pizza rolls while they play Fortnite instead of spending an hour or two each evening in the garden.

There are a lot of lazy people who are part of the problem. I’ve even been one of these people at certain times in my life. These days, though, I spend time gardening every day so that I buy fewer supermarket veggies that were trucked in from god-knows-where.

Have you ever stopped to think about the carbon footprint of supermarket produce? These people use terrible farming practices (that harm the environment and contribute to our health problems) and require huge supply chains (which require a lot of fossil fuels and carbon emissions).

Factor in the exploitation of migrant workers in big agriculture, and we create a big depraved clusterfuck just so lazy people don’t have to get a little dirt under their fingernails.

Both of these things are true: People who get habituated to unhealthy, environmentally destructive lifestyles are victims of an exploitative profit-driven system AND individuals are responsible for changing their own lives to end these cycles of destruction and exploitation.

Diagnosing society

One of the first things that began to change my views on healthcare was Johann Hari’s incredible book Lost Connections. Hari frames depression as a symptom of the flaws in modern society.

He dedicates a chapter to discussing junk food and junk values. Westerners consume large quantities of unhealthy food like KFC and unhealthy values like consumerism.

As Hari says on page 96, “All of this mass-produced fried chicken looks like food, and it appeals to the part of us that evolved to need food; yet it doesn’t give us what we need from food — nutrition. Instead, it fills us with toxins.”

It’s more than just fried chicken. All mass-produced industrially processed “food” is killing us. And there’s a massive effort to trick us into thinking that things like Diet Coke are good for us.

Junk values play into this because consumerism drives these destructive and toxic culinary traditions.
Americans habitually buy products from other people that they could make themselves. Supply and demand drive all economies, so businesses created a culture infused with endless demand for its products.

It used to be normal for people to have a base level of life skills. Nowadays, many people can’t even cook basic meals for themselves, so they’re dependent on frozen meals and fast food.

People work all day so that they can afford these conveniences, mostly because they’ve been trained to believe that they cannot provide for themselves.

Furthermore, a lot of places, particularly poor urban environments, completely cut people off from the opportunity to provide for themselves and their communities.

Gardening for the greater good

If the American people can adjust our lifestyles so that we’re less of a burden on the healthcare system, then it will be a less intimidating prospect for congress to enact the healthcare reform we so desperately need.

I’m generally against government involvement in our lives, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil. In this specific context, there are a few policies that could help push people toward making healthier choices.
Here are the two main policies I’d like to see Congress enact to encourage better choices:

1.Food stamp incentives
2.Tax breaks for home gardens

I’m sure people have talked about these a lot, but they popped up in my brain recently so I want to dig into them.

Food Stamp incentives

The food stamps program could incentivize buying healthy foods and local foods by charging more for unhealthy processed foods.
For example, if you buy a bag of Cheetos, the system would charge you an extra dollar, puts that dollar into a funding pool, and use money from that pool to subsidize other people’s purchases of healthy locally-sourced food.
The dollar from Joe Schmoe’s Cheeto purchase takes one dollar off of the locally grown tomatoes you buy at the neighborhood food co-op. Thus, local businesses get more cash flow, and people are incentivized to eat healthier diets.
It’s also possible that this would motivate big grocery stores like Whole Foods to provide more healthy options in low-income areas where a lot of people rely on food stamps.
In areas like Eugene that are rich with agriculture, it would also motivate the bigger grocery chains to prioritize stocking their shelves with as much local produce as possible.

Home Garden Tax Breaks

People need good incentives to change their routines, especially if that change involves some sort of work. So by bribing people, either with tax breaks or direct cash payments, the government can create a great incentive to start a home garden.

This policy could be enforced through drone surveillance. I don’t condone government surveillance in any way, but they’re already doing it, so we may as well utilize it for good things like paying people to garden at home.

City by city, we can be the change we wish to see in the food system if we just get off our asses and garden. Rather than waiting for Congress or corporations to change things, we can do it ourselves.

People often criticize me for suggesting that personal responsibility has a significant role in changing society, but the lack of responsibility is part of the problem. Modern food systems rely on hiding the true costs and environmental drawbacks they create.

When you tell a regular McDonald’s customer that their burger addiction results in rainforest destruction, they’ll either be angry or apathetic. Anger and apathy are two mechanisms through which people externalize responsibility for the negative impacts they have on the environment.

This obviously won’t work as well in urban environments or places like North Dakota with harsh climates unsuitable for growing produce. We need to figure out solutions for those areas as well.

It’s all baby steps

We’re not going to fix this society overnight. Plants take time to grow and people take time to change their habits.

If we set an intention now, though, and begin working toward a better future, we will change the world.

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