We live in a society where the healthcare industry does not care about food and the food industry does not care about health, yet the very building blocks of our entire immune system can only come from that which we consume so neither industry is helping us to help ourselves!
GPs swear the hippocratic oath, yet after only 250 years of modern medicine they have forgotten the main thing that Hippocrates said: let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food Why is nutrition not a part of conventional medicine? Why is it not even in the curriculum (in any significant measure) when people train to become a doctor?
Entering a supermarket is little better. There are on average 2 aisles of ‘real’ food – fruit and vegetables that are at least akin to their appearance in their natural state. The rest of the entire shop – some ten aisles in many cases – are packed full of food-like substances in brightly coloured packaging to entice us towards something that will, at first sight, make our lives easier because of minimal preparation, but in the long term will make living infinitely more difficult when our health fails.
The most basic needs of humankind are air, water, food and security. ‘Modernisation’ has led us to pollute the air, contaminate the water and produce food-like substances made from chemicals, additives, enhancers and dyes. Making our lives ‘easier’ actually means making us lazier, so we no longer get as much exercise, we don’t even have to stand at the cooker preparing nutritious food because the microwave will do it for us in 2 minutes, we no longer have family time around the dinner table where we can nourish our surroundings, our emotions, our security as well as our body. Indeed many families eat meals on their laps in front of the TV, building a stronger relationship with a SitCom character than with their own family members.
So without our most basic human needs being met, valued and developed, how much easier has our life actually become when our health fails because we didn’t eat properly; when our relationships fail because we didn’t take the time to nourish them because we were too busy engaging with electronic devices; when we are lonely and have no-one to help us when we are ill or elderly because everyone is too busy nurturing their virtual friends online instead of engaging in face-to-face time.
The NHS is a symptom of a sick society that has grown accustomed to handing over the responsibility for their own health to someone else who is meant to fix it for them – free of charge, of course – with minimal effort to make changes themselves until a personal health crisis makes them value it more.
Our National Health Service has become a victim of its own success!! A wonderful resource designed to help people when they most need it has, in fact, become a crutch for a society that is no longer taught, much less encouraged, to take responsibility for its own health. Until your local GP surgery is sponsored by your local greengrocer or farmer instead of the drugs industry, you will always be given a flu jab at this time of year instead of an armful of oranges and some immune-system boosting recipes.
As a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I find it staggering that we have to prove ourselves repeatedly to gain the respect of conventional western medicine. For 5000 years the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine has put teaching at the heart of its work and indeed it is said that years ago the doctors in China were paid according to the number of their patients that they DID NOT see. Not because their waiting lists were full, but because they were teachers who taught their community how to remain healthy, not how to get better once they have become sick! Doctors were teachers first and foremost and the people needed to stay healthy because far from being employed and getting sick pay if they were off, they were self-employed and needed to remain healthy to maintain the household income! Even in the West, prior to the industrial revolution some 90% of the population was self-employed, whereas now 90% are employed and no longer need to worry about keeping the money coming in if they get sick.
The NHS crisis is merely a long-overdue symptom of the true pending crisis. The average age of mortality is lowering at a time when we have more than ever before – more food, more opportunities, more communications. The very time we as a society should be flourishing, we are floundering.
The survivors will be those who know how to look after their own health and that of those they love, how to feed and nourish themselves, grow their own food and live in the way of a permaculture-based society working together for the greater good, not being dependent upon the failing institutions and industries that have set themselves up as crutches to help us, but whose overuse has left us lame.