I share a similar mindset with President Clinton with respect to most issues and initiatives. Where we differ profoundly is on the issue of Obamacare.
I wholeheartedly applaud President Clinton for embracing change and transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, while articulating in doing so the benefits of proactively taking matters of health into your own hands. "I wanted to live to be a grandfather. So I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival."
However, President Clinton has also been a big proponent of President Obama's overhaul of the healthcare system. To my mind, this should be an opportunity for the rubber to hit the road and I would have preferred to see him apply the principles he has learned through his vegan diet to his stance on Obamacare.
Since open enrollment season arrived on Oct. 1, as millions of Americans try and wrap their heads around online marketplaces and health exchanges, our nation is in serious economic decline. One reason amongst many is the failure of individuals to take personal responsibility for their lives. Whether we're talking about education, jobs or my field -- diet and health -- the sad reality is that most of us are looking to get taken care of without any thought to the consequences of poor life decisions. Allow me to set the record straight: no matter who pays for your healthcare, it won't get you healthier.
So how do we contain runaway health care costs? I believe the answer is rather simple. Talk about change you can believe in -- let's start with a diet change. However, even "simple," takes work.
The American diet is largely made up of the very foods that have caused this crisis of health care in the first place. Medical technology has allowed for symptoms to be treated and that is taken as a cure. As we age, these procedures get incredibly expensive.
Tom Brokaw famously labeled the generation who grew up during the Depression and then went on to fight and support the war effort during World War II "The Greatest Generation." I am calling the spoiled baby boomers The Crankiest. I would offer a word of advice to my fellow boomers to at least reevaluate their eating habits to mitigate some unpleasantness in old age.
At this point you are probably passing me off as just another vegan diet, health nut on a soap box (okay, just this once call me cranky). Maybe, but I sometimes get angry that people like me are subsidizing the population at large. If we are indeed in this together, it would be nice if more of us tried a bit harder to keep up their end.
So how do we get from here to some semblance of sanity?
Next time you are at a doctor's office and you are handed the basic health history paperwork to fill out, please note, they never ask what you are eating. If that data is never collected, there is no way for people like me to scientifically prove to you that indeed simple eating is the clue to good health. I have to rely on common sense.
Diet is the tool I use is to convince people to take control of their own health and at least attempt a change to experience its effects. Most will not even try as they are so culturally addicted to taste and their social lifestyles that change seems impossible. We see that many go straight from their bypass operation to a steak restaurant under the false belief that they are now fixed. They might even run into their cardiologist there.
President Clinton, following his bypass, continued with his high fat diet. A short time later he needed stents and his doctor, in no uncertain terms, made him realize that if he didn't want to die young, he had better change his ways. He got the message and at this point he has switched to a mostly vegan diet which he promotes.
Even as we see study after study urging people to eat less, eat more vegetables and exercise (a topic for another time), for the most part, nothing really changes. The reason is simple. We have become a nation of dependent spoiled children who refuse to take responsibility for our own well-being.
I am an optimist by nature. I look at it as a matter of time before necessity becomes the mother of invention and intervention which will force us to use some common sense and take more control of our lives, and in turn pay it forward to our children. It will grow and take root from there.
I hope you were not looking for that magic pill before you started to read this. The magic is within you, but it takes a little work. Simply put, what this boils down to is "Obamacare vs. How Much Do YOUCARE?" President Clinton, won't you please give this further consideration?
Sandy Pukel is a nationally recognized educator and a highly respected nutritionist who has an international reputation as a leader in his field. He has been involved with the natural food movement for over forty years. He is the founder and creator of Holistic Holiday at Sea, an educational and gourmet vegan and natural food cruise. He also co-authored a vegan cookbook, Greens and Grains on the Deep Blue Sea which features recipes that can be enjoyed on his annual inspirational, educational and gourmet natural food cruise. In the years leading up to his natural food cruise. Sandy owned and operated the Oak Feed Store which became a Coconut Grove, Florida landmark and crossroads for those seeking lifestyle change. He is considered a guru to those whose lives and health he helped transform to a better state of wellness.