One thing is sure in this world: only you can establish total wellness and health. Unless you want it, and are sufficiently motivated to gain it and keep it, no amount of outside support will succeed. Taking responsibility for your own health should be a prime personal objective. Succeed and you will achieve a more enjoyable and successful social and working life, irrespective of your age. Best of all, you will be reducing your dependence on medications and other medical services, whether ‘free’ or private.
Many countries are struggling to fund an expanding medical service. There is a growing mentality that ‘if the service is free, I should use it to the full and demand the latest drug or treatment that I have read or heard about’. In parallel, public and private medical professionals are increasingly rewarded in relation to the number of specific tests, treatments and prescriptions they provide, prescribe and refer to specialists. Will anyone ever dare suggest that the most successful doctors are those with a practice that has a rapidly-reducing need for their services?
As WDDTY and this website often remind us: ‘There are no free lunches to good health’, and it’s interesting that the following notice is included on vitamin bottle labels:
• These are no substitute for a balanced diet.
• Don’t exceed the recommended consumption.
• Discuss their use with your medical practitioner.
Yet there is no label on commercial non-ecological fruit and vegetables that says: ‘It is recommended that you wash and peel before consumption’, and few medical professionals have comprehensive training in nutrition, which surely has to be a fundamental basis of our wellbeing.
Last November we attended a session at the Slow Food Terra Madre conference in Turin on the topic of ‘What medications do we have to combat poor diets?’ presented by a panel of six Italian doctors. Replies to two questions from the audience were enlightening. They were along the following lines:
Q1. ‘Why has the panel not focussed on what we should eat to prevent the need for the new high-tech medications’?
R1. ‘None of us had any education on nutrition and good eating during our medical training and, like most, we have probably eaten badly during our careers. Fortunately a few hours of education are now provided to doctors in training but it is insufficient and squeezed into an overfull curriculum’.
Q2. ‘Why is a holistic health specialist not included in the panel’?
R2. ‘The organiser cannot be seen to be openly supporting alternative medicine’.
But luckily most of the conference was focussed on expanding the production and consumption of healthy foodstuffs by traditional ecological methods, and for local consumption and with the producers getting a fair reward. Unfortunately it is a struggle in many countries; in Spain, farmers are abandoning the land because the price they are paid is less than the production costs. Virtually no produce is sold locally, but instead is transported to warehouses and packing stations where they are treated in order to improve their appearance and to preserve them while they are shipped to retail outlets, often in packs labelled ‘Fresh – eat by the end of the week’.
At least if you grow your own, you have the chance to eat truly fresh food – ‘picked at their best just before consumption’.
© Clodagh and *** Handscombe Authors of ‘Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain’ and ‘ Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain’. Read their October article ‘ Living Very Well from our Spanish Garden’ on their website ‘www.gardeninginspain.com.