Our Health Problem
Let me give you an idea what this book is about and how it came to be. I’ll also mention a little about me. I’m a family doc. I work at a multispecialty clinic in the beautiful city of Austin, Texas. I’ve had the privilege of heading and overseeing the population health programs for our clinic from around 2015 to 2020. What I’ve come to learn is that while I can have an incremental impact on the health of the patients I care for, increasingly I see I’m fighting a losing battle. Let me explain.
Something’s Very Wrong
It’s not that the work is not impactful – it is. Doctors, nurses and clinical staff play an important role in keeping our population healthy. On the other hand, if you look at health care trends, what you will come to see is that chronic diseases are increasing over time. Today the US healthcare system in total costs around $4.3 trillion dollars. In spite of that astronomical figure, what we are seeing is that more people are developing chronic diseases at a younger age than ever before. Fundamentally, something is very wrong.
Book Title & Subtitle Explained
In the book, I use the analogy of healthcare workers being like firefighters. We ought to be able to beat back this raging forest fire. Instead we see the flames are only growing over time, we need to change tactics. Thus the title: Health in Flames. The good news is that there is a way to get out of this forest fire. I hope to show you a way out. One in which you can live a life that is free of chronic disease. One which is wonderfully more satisfying than what we’ve collectively come to accept as normal. Thus the subtitle: A Doctor’s Prescription for Living BEYOND Diet and Exercise.
Beyond Diet & Exercise
I’m not letting anyone off the hook! A healthy diet and exercise as still foundational but there is an elephant in the room that is at the heart of our healthcare crises. Unless we first recognize it and address it, we’ll continue to suffer the same sad state of health we’ve come to accept as normal. Let me suggest that there is a much better way to live. I’m confident you’ll come to see that as you read this book. I also believe that if you join me, we can as a society live the sort of life that is better for us and simultaneously do much better for more than just our health.
In the days and weeks ahead I’ll post more regularly to help you understand our present predicament. Post any questions/comments & I’ll check in regularly
BOTTOM LINE: THERE IS A BETTER WAY!
- As John Maynard Keynes said a century ago, people of our time ought to be largely independent of our employers for our income – unfortunately, due to “mindless consumerism”, we are not.
- Mindless consumerism is the underlying reason leading to the rise of chronic disease for 3 major reasons:
- It ties us to dependence on our employers and modern day employment is a health hazard for most (in part due to the sedentary nature of most jobs).
- It has led to environmental changes toxic to our wellbeing:
- (a). We evolved in and are best suited to natural environments and instead we live in increasingly artificial environments.
- (b). Overconsumption has lead us to engineer out the need for meaningful use of our legs for ambulation.
- Finally, it transforms workers to work with blinders on – instead of working for the product or service and receiving money as a side effect, workers focus on making money and the product or service is instead the side effect. The results (with respect to health) is that “food” is no longer food but changed to maximize pleasure and extract profit in spite of the toxicity to our health.
- Based on the science of wellbeing one can derive the philosophy that once basic needs are met, “The best things in life are free” therefore —>
- Most people can live far below their means without sacrificing happiness AND by investing the rest, they can become financially independent of their employers enabling them to be —>
- Happier. Healthier. Wealthier. More engaged. Simply better.