CHEF TIMOTHY We can put a man on the moon, elect an African American as president, legalize same-sex marriage and smoke pot in some states without breaking the law. But we have not reined in the high cost of healthcare, even though President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.
Tens of millions of Americans have some type of medical ailment – such as stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer. We continue to get sicker and fatter as a nation because of unhealthy diets, dehydration and a lack of physical exercise.
The skyrocketing healthcare prices we are paying each year are mind-boggling. We're spending over $2.6 trillion annually on healthcare, and that amount is increasing daily.
There are many healthcare challenges facing us today. Mental illness is one of them; genetically modified foods are another. Yet, you didn't hear much about either one when the president's healthcare bill was being sliced and diced by his detractors and scrutinized by some of his supporters.
And then there is ADHD, a kind of mental illness that affects one in every 55 individuals. This illness is spiraling out of control and there is no super cure to help rid the afflicted of his/her mental and emotional challenges. Eating healthy is one thing, but crossing the threshold into mental illness can be difficult to treat without medication.
As a vegan and raw chef, I've dealt with clients who've grappled for years with illnesses that were both mental and physical. There is hope, however. If you just eat the right food, you'd be able to avoid some of the debilitating diseases and illnesses that can shut down the body – and the mind.
While the big wigs in the food industry are not providing the right types of food for us to eat and to stay healthy, it still is not all that difficult to eat healthy, drink plenty of water and exercise to stay in shape. "Just do it!" to borrow Nike's slogan.
Your journey to health and wellness will begin when you switch to a plant-based diet. That means you'd have to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to get your energy level up. No problem, right?
What if you're on medication? So what! Take the meds and continue to eat healthy.
If you eat healthy and change your lifestyle, you'll think, act and feel better. If you're suffering with diabetes, high blood pressure, lupus, obesity, ADHD and high cholesterol, you may be able to rid your body of one or more of those illnesses. A plant-based lifestyle just may make this very much possible to achieve.
Since a lot of people are battling high cholesterol, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the pros and cons of taking statin drugs to lower cholesterol levels. The most popular brands that I can think of are Lipitor® (atorvastatin), Zocor® (simvastatin) and Crestor® (rosuvastatin).
The statin drugs work as designed. For example, if your cholesterol level is at least 350 mg/dL to 400+ mg/dL, your doctor may prescribe one of the statin drugs to bring down your cholesterol to a safe level. But in some cases, patients are prescribed these drugs when their cholesterol level is slightly over 200 mg/dL.
Now here's what doctors won't tell you after prescribing statin drugs: There are a number of short-term and long-term side effects, such as liver damage, an increase in blood pressure and type II diabetes, short- and long-term memory loss, renal failure and an increase in cataracts, the formation of some cancers, suppression of the immune system, muscle weakness and arthritis and bone pain.
Statin drugs should be used as a last resort. It would be best to eat healthy to avoid taking medication, particularly the ones with the most dangerous side effects. Switching to a plant-based diet will keep you healthy and, in most cases, away from the doctor's office.