Saturday, October 12, 2013

Medical Musings Part Deux: Budget Cuts, Medical Teaching, Healthy living/Food for Thought!

(1) Not much more can be said than what this article has already articulated, but the point is that research and technology are important to progress in a society.  The Nobel prizes were announced this past week for physiology/medicine, physics and chem and they illustrates the profound impact that basic science research has on not just medicine and technology, but also on society. Curtailing the funding for such research is equivalent to curtailing significant progress in medicine. I have stated in previous posts that I believe that medicine (in all its forms) collectively enhances a society. In understanding ourselves at the molecular level we not only understand each other better, but also understand the world in which we live in far better. We are governed by science and what can be proven scientifically is something that can be applied cosmically. By doing we begin to deepen our progress as a civilization

(2) I love this posting primarily because it is from a physician of my generation that foresees the issues of compromising quality healthcare just to meet and beat the numbers. In a few of Atul Gawande's books he also addressed the urgency of focusing on providing quality healthcare through small changes that end up having a larger impact on healthcare expenditures. (I'm referring to both the Checklist Manifesto and implementing handwashing in rural areas in third world countries as presented in Better.) Perhaps the answer isn't succumbing to the trivial nuance in order to save money. This article alone indicates that the problems run much deeper than that (yes, a bag of saline can cost $500 when you're in a hospital and yes you most likely paid that amount if you ever ended up in the ER or were hospitalized.) As a future physician, I seek to take the pledge to become more conscientious about healthcare and expenses but not at the cost of treating someone with quality medical care. I believe the answer lies at the cross-roads of simple practicality and a little ingenuity.

(3) In light of my recent post on the Healthcare Exchange, I have decided that I want to start some postings about health, food, and cooking in a segment called Food For Thought. First of all, and needless to say, I've taken way to long to apply to medical school, let alone get in and pass and become a doctor. I believe things will eventually work out, but there's no reason I should not act now to better my community's health knowing what I know and having a plethora of resources in front of me as it is. This is especially important since the people in my state are not eligible for the recent Exchange, they can at least use this blog to get free tips and more education on eating healthier. I firmly believe that part of why healthcare costs are so high is that healthcare education is aberrant. I'm still learning a lot about food and it wasn't until recently that I realized how ignorant I was on it. Here are a series of my go-to guides that I use to make meal plans. Yes, Step 1 is making meal-plans. Knowing what you need to buy before you go to the grocery store is a simple way to save time and money and calories. Having something you've already prepared ahead of time in the fridge is a great way to avoid impromptu snack purchases. Mainly, the world will be full of packaged nonsense but by planning you are two steps ahead that you won't be hungry when you're around the packaged goods. As with all planning, be flexible, but having a plan is critical to success:
  • If anyone is at a loss as to where to start on eating healthier use this infographic guide: 
    • More or less everything on that chart is very informative and easy to undertake (depending on where you live of course.) Think that switching from regular to diet coke or not munching on sugar cookies every day is helping you? Well think about what else you are eating. Potatoes and sandwiches can often be just as bad. This article tells us that not everything is as it seems. I've started cooking again and I feel better already. I'll post my recipes as they come (probably on a different blog since I don't want to clutter maritime adventures and act like a foodie.) I'm learning too so I'm not entirely sugar or fat or grain free.
  • I've recently placed more importance for antibiotic free meat. The health effects alone are reason enough, but my massage therapist also brought to light a totally different factor: how can anything/animal that was tortured its whole life, injected with hormones/antibiotics, and killed with malice provide meat that is good for you? Something that was killed through malice can neither physically nor spiritually have value left in it. Basically, you're eating a tortured soul. Additionally, in my next post I have an article about the antibiotic resistance bacteria. Just know that there is a relationship between the drugs given to meat to keep them "clean" as they are stuffed in close quarters with other animals and the bugs that affect humans that are drug-resistant. (Usually they're not the same strain but the bugs are related.)
Here are more resources:
  • And after my bouts of food-poisoning, one of which landed me in the hospital for a week and bedridden for 3 weeks after. here's a guide to food safety. 
(4) Lastly, one of the most important changes I've recently made is learning how to breathe properly. Yes, breathe. You might be asking "isn't that something anyone does without thinking?" Who knew there was a wrong way to breathe? The NAVY SEALS DID. I read this book earlier this year written by a SEAL that talked about mental toughness. In the book he indicated that a way SEALs are trained to control their heart rate and stress response in extreme situations is by controlling their breath. Simple instructions: inhale to a count of 5, hold for a count of 5, exhale to the same 5 count and hold again for 5 (no breath) then inhale again and count to 5. The link also lists its benefits and here's an infographic that shows some more. Since then I've read numerous other (non-SEAL related) books that have put forth the exact same principle. I do this while meditating, but it is also extremely helpful to bring your mind back to the present and control your response to any extremely stressful situation. Practicing deep-breathing is a good way to work all your muscles and something my massage therapist told me to do since I constantly elevate my shoulders and have a lot of tension. Additionally, a friend of mine introduced me to alternate nostril breathing which has worked wonders with my anxiety, my TMJ, and even when I have trouble falling asleep. I'll talk more about the yoga I've recently rejoined later.

Ok looks like this will become a 3 parter! Stay tuned for more healthcare/medicine related stuff and sorry for the length--just have so much info out there that I wanted compiled and I hope it is helping someone!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this post! I learned the principle about not eating tortured animals when I was vegan for a spell, and I think there is some truth to it in general that you want your food (whether it be animals or plants) to come from a happy, calm place full of light and not be putting negative energy in your body. I am starting to learn more about how food is sourced in general (up until now I've mostly only known about meat - and hence get a meat CSA from a local farm, which I highly recommend!) and it's really changing how I live my life. Reinvigorating my meditation practice and sleep hygiene this week, and one of my "27 in 27" goals is also to do yoga 3x/week. :) I am so glad to hear you are also staying informed and practicing good health habits!!!