Are You Reliant on Others When It Comes to Your Health?
Let me tell you a story about my friend Jesse. You see, Jesse had an appointment with her doctor yesterday. It was nothing serious—just a sore throat and a little skin rash. However, I was shocked at how long she waited to get her appointment. She waited six days to see the doctor. By that time, her rash and sore throat were nearly better, and the doctor sent Jesse on her way.
Does this scenario sound familiar? What about long waits in the emergency department simply because your doctor was booked solid for weeks? When it comes to the emergency department, it isn’t out of the norm to wait two hours, maybe five hours, or even longer. When it is an emergency, you will wait to get answers about your health; but what about those times when it’s not an immediate, life-threatening concern? Why must you wait?
You likely get yourself up in the morning, get dressed, brush your teeth, and travel to work. You also likely buy your own groceries and clothes, and pay your bills without fail. Quite often you make your own meals, though maybe you let someone else cook for you now and then. After all, following a long day at the office, it can be a lot easier to order in than spend time cooking.
And there’s the rub. When it comes to most aspects of your life, it’s not too hard to be fairly self-reliant; but when it comes to food, health, and wellness, many of us depend on others.
Survey: Americans Put Trust in Health Professionals
According to the 2014 International Food Information Council Foundation’s Food & Health Survey on consumer attitudes toward food safety, nutrition, and health, Americans are very likely to put their trust in health professionals, such as doctors, to provide accurate information about nutrition, physical activity, and weight loss. They also trust the U.S. government to inform them about food ingredients, food safety, and farming and food production practices.
It seems as though Americans must trust in others to keep them healthy. But maybe it is time you take your health into your own hands. How, you ask? You don’t have to become a doctor or even a world-class chef to be more self-reliant when it comes to your health. There are simple methods you can use to put the focus on preventative self-care. Using the following three ways to become more self-reliant when it comes to your health, you can be sure to boost your overall health, happiness, and confidence.
Self-Care Health Tip #1: Learn About Alternative Food and Health Choices
Many people trust the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate food recommendations. Doctors typically only have a few minutes with you, and in a state of panic, it is very convenient to get a prescription from the doctor for a quick-fix treatment.
Becoming self-reliant in your food and health choices doesn’t mean you have to completely cut out the advice of others; rather, it’s about educating yourself so that you can better determine if that advice is in your best interest or not. Alternative health practitioners can educate you about other ways to improve your health. Holistic nutritionists, naturopathic doctors, and natural health practitioners can help give you nutrition and lifestyle advice. As a result, you will make fewer trips to the doctor or emergency department.
Self-reliance is also about empowerment, and I suggest further health education. Consider drug side effects, negative health effects of food additives in processed foods, and the health problems related to genetically modified organisms, then use this education to empower you to make wise choices for your overall health.
Self-Care Health Tip #2: Support Local Farmers’ Markets
You may purchase your food from the grocery store, but the process isn’t that simple. Your food travels from the farm to processors, manufacturers, distributors, and then your local retailer. In that time, your produce is weeks old and has lost valuable nutrients that support your health. Also, when your food is processed, it is void of nutrients entirely.
In the warmer seasons, it is best to support your local farmers. Not only will you get nutritious and pesticide-free food, but less money changes hands as well. Farmers offer CSA (community supported agriculture) programs that allow you to receive local and seasonal food at a fair price. You can build relationships with your farmers at farmers’ markets. You can also consider joining community gardening groups that will allow you to grow your own fresh produce, even if you don’t have a backyard.
Self-Care Health Tip #3: Grow Your Own “Medicine”
Medications, and also natural medicine, can be expensive. Where is the true healthcare? Well, the “farm-acy,” of course. Fresh vegetables and fruits are the best preventative medicine. Food from the local farmer is a good place to start. They can even provide you with solid information to help you start a home garden, especially when you have relied on grocery stores or restaurants for the majority of your life.
You can also consider growing herbs and possibly making your own herbal tinctures for many health ailments. By doing so, you can save money on medications and supplements as well. Making herbal tinctures is a very advanced self-reliance method, however, so I advise you to seek further education from a registered herbalist.
Self-Care Health Tip #4: Make the Change to Self-Reliant Health Care
By making changes to your lifestyle such as those mentioned above, your mentality shifts to a DIY (do-it-yourself) way of thinking and simple activities, such as cooking, become enjoyable and rewarding. Self-reliance may require time and energy, but reducing your dependence on others can certainly help to boost your health and happiness without the prescriptions and long waiting room sits, at least when it comes to your day-to-day health and minor ailments.
Having said that, if you do find yourself suffering from a prolonged ailment or serious illness, do seek the assistance of your family healthcare professional. There is always a time when you must admit you can’t do everything on your own; when it comes to more serious health concerns, your best choice may be to trust the professionals.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“2014 Food and Health Survey,” Food Insight web site, May 27, 2014; http://www.foodinsight.org/articles/2014-food-and-health-survey, last updated June 24, 2014.
Adams, M., “Natural News declares 2015 the ‘Year of Self-Reliance,’” Natural News web site, January 2, 2015; http://www.naturalnews.com/048175_self-reliance_2015_economic_collapse.html.