Our World Is Dangerous For Our Health
In terms of our health, I believe we live in a dangerous world today. I think of people I have gone to school with or have met over the years, and I think of how many of them have life-changing diseases from cancers to neurological diseases to bizarre things that you never heard of in the 70’s and 80’s when I was growing up. Maybe my hometown was a “bubble”, but when I was younger, I think my family could count on one hand the number of people we knew who had cancer. Now, I figured out over 10% of my Facebook friends have battled it or are still battling it. Then you look at food allergies. If you’re a member of Generation X or older, can you remember people being allergic to things like gluten, soy, or eggs when you were young? Sure, we all knew that occasional lactose-intolerant kid who couldn’t drink the milk we had for snacks in kindergarten, but I will venture to say none of us had ever heard of gluten at that time. So I believe as a society, we are getting sicker. We may be living longer (although I wonder if that will be the case for this new generation of kids) but I don’t believe we’re actually healthier. Why is that? I believe the answer is our environment. Our world is full of chemicals and it’s full of stressors. A good friend of mine recently had an extensive set of tests done to determine her allergies because she has had these symptoms for years that couldn’t be explained. When the tests came back, her list of foods and other things she was allergic to was long and extensive. When she and her husband asked the immunologist why so many people are having problems with allergies these days, the immunologist came back with “it’s our environment”. We can try to eat healthy organic foods, use organic personal care items, etc. But let’s face it, most of what we touch, breathe and consume has chemicals in it. This immunologist believes that our bodies being exposed to these chemicals over the years has caused them to change or react, which is where all of these allergies and diseases are coming from. To me, this makes sense. If you look at the older generations, they ate most of their meals at home (which were made-from-scratch), and a lot of them even grew their own vegetables in their backyards; most of their cleaning supplies contained fewer chemicals than ours do; and they took far fewer drugs than we do. If you look at a book of “home remedies” that’s how people in our grandparent’s generation lived. I’m not saying that our medical advancements aren’t a good thing, quite the opposite. I just think we are often too quick to pop a pill because we don’t have “time to be sick”. We don’t think that maybe the reason we got sick to begin with was our bodies were too worn down to combat the person in the next cubicle sneezing or coughing in our direction. I had a conversation with a dear, sweet elderly patient this week who was saying how many “young” people are sick these days, and in my mind I compared my own life with how this 80-some year old woman lived when she was young. I especially thought of when I started living on my own in an apartment while in chiropractic school. Because time and money were short and stress was high, my diet consisted of macaroni and cheese out-of-a-box, soup out-of-a-can, and eating out at less than high-quality restaurants (although I must admit, I still love those burritos from El Famous Burrito in Chicagoland). Don’t get me wrong, I still ate my fair share of fruits and vegetables (I was entering a healthcare profession after all), but were they enough to counter the onslaught of other chemicals I was putting into my body? Probably not. I believe we need to consider these things when we look at the health of our society. I do believe this is the whole crux of the problem with healthcare today in our country. We do an excellent job at combating health crises, but what we aren’t doing so well is preventing people from getting to that point to begin with. I am grateful that some things that would have killed people in the early 1900’s, we don’t bat an eye at anymore. However, I believe we need to take a serious look at what we are doing to our bodies in other ways, in terms of the chemicals and other stressors we are exposing ourselves to. That is just my opinion, I would love to hear yours.