Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Not-so-Secret Solution

This morning I opened my homepage to read the latest news headlines and recent entries of my fellow vegan bloggers. I was floored by this article:

Diabetes Rate in Ontario Rose Far Faster than Forecast: Study

Ontario is our home province, and here we have publicly-funded health care. It can be a wonderful system, in that if you have a run of bad luck, you don’t need to mortgage your entire future to pay for your hospital stay, surgery, etc. Every person in the province has equal access to health care, regardless of social status or income. The system is funded through income taxes, where theoretically everyone pays the same percentage toward the costs.

One downfall is the migration of good Canadian medical doctors to the US, attracted by more lucrative salaries of the American private health care system. It is hard to find a general practitioner in town that is accepting new patients. If you have a GP, you keep them, regardless of whether you disagree with their approaches or loathe the service you receive in their waiting room.

But the other downfall is highlighted by this recent article. Our health care system is getting increasingly more expensive. In part, it is because good health professionals deserve higher compensation. But much more costly are the thousands of people that are becoming unhealthier by the year. One out of eleven people in the province have diabetes. Probably a similar percentage have heart disease (maybe the same person). And then there are the increasing rates of diet- and lifestyle-induced cancers. And who will shoulder the burden of those increasing costs? Those that take care of themselves and are still able to work. And our children.

The article states, “Rates of diabetes grew most rapidly in people under the age of 50, especially young women”. Clearly this increase is directly related to poor diet and lack of exercise. We are killing ourselves with our forks and televisions. How can we get the message out that meat, dairy, and refined and processed foods are poisoning our society?

The proof that a healthy vegan diet prevents diabetes is irrefutable. This movie follows six people as they adopt a raw vegan diet and get off their insulin (thanks to The Veggie Voice for that link). Many authors/doctors such as Robbins, Ornish, McDougall, Barnard and Fuhrman have written books on the health benefits of vegan diets. I recently borrowed Fuhrman’s Eat to Live from the library on Fat-Free Vegan’s recommendation. It is a well-written book citing study after study about the disease-preventing benefits of a vegan diet based on fresh fruits and vegetables (even more interesting to parents might be his Disease Proof your Child). Many of his patients successfully ended their dependence on insulin.

It is frustrating that many of the people I care about already are, or are at high-risk of becoming one of the increasing number of Ontarians with diabetes. I, as many of us do, hold the “secret” - the knowledge about how to prevent or cure diabetes. But it is useless unless they are willing to listen. They have to give up their attachment to unhealthy patterns of eating the wrong foods in inappropriate amounts. They have to get themselves moving. How can we help people who aren’t willing to be helped?


Kati said...

It is certainly a sad predicament that we find ourselves in. You're right - we can't help anyone who doesn't want to listen, and that's shame because those who don't want to listen are the ones who need to hear it the most!

aTxVegn said...

The giant food companies are really good at making the public think their prepackaged foods are healthful. I tell everyone I know about the health benefits of being vegan. Some people are aware of how meat is processed, and they simply choose to look the other way. I feel quite helpless most times.

On another note, your blog is wonderful! Your recipes and pictures are very tempting.