wellness Archives - Dr. Milan Lassiter in Richmond, VA

Are We Better Off Because of This Outrageous Spending On Health Care?

By | Health, nutrition, wellness

Our politicians are in full force, debating health care…who should be covered and who should pay the bill (private insurance, Medicare-for-all, or a hybrid)?  This is a hot topic because health care is expensive. The costs continue to rise and many people don’t have health insurance. But with all the focus on how expensive health care is and who is going to pay for it, no one is talking about the core problem: AMERICANS ARE SICK.

Americans have access to the best doctors and hospitals, the newest drugs, and the most cutting-edge technology available in the world. Still, our nation is the 35th healthiest in the world. As the richest and most powerful country in the world, this ranking is a disgrace.

Cuba placed five spots above the U.S., making it the only nation not classified on the list as “high income” by the World Bank. According to the American Bar Association Health Law, one reason for the island nation’s success may be its emphasis on preventative care over the health care model in the U.S., which focuses on diagnosing and treating illness instead.

Health care costs will continue to rise. We’re also in a new period where, for the first time in history, there are more people over 65 years of age than under 5 years of age. That means that ther are more elderly people and, in America, an aging population equates to more chronic disease, more doctor and hospital visits, more medication use, and more disability. About 50% of the U.S. adult population has either pre-diabetes or diabetes. Half of all Americans have cardiovascular disease. Three out of four adults in America are either overweight or obese. This means more Americans are sick than healthy.

Here’s a statistic for you: The total economic cost of obesity is estimated to be $1.72 Trillion per year. Rather than politicians arguing about who should pay for this health care disaster, the obvious (though ignored) question is: WHY ARE WE SO SICK?

A major part of this answer is right in-front of us: what we are eating and other lifestyle choices! Active lifestyles and exercise are very important, but the most important daily decision has to do with what foods we’re going to eat. If we can get better at making healthier decisions (ie: not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight BMI, minimum 30 minutes of daily activity, limiting alcohol, eating well), this whole conundrum regarding health insurance coverage and who’s going to pay for health care won’t go away, but it will get a lot less messy (healthier people need less health care).

Following are some interesting statistics:

1950 – U.S. spent $12.7 billion on health care (4.4% of GDP)

2015 – U.S. spent $3.2 trillion on healch care (17.8% of GDP)

2025 – health care cost estimated to be 20% of GDP

1970 – U.S. ranked 15th in healthy nations

2015 – U.S. ranked 33rd  in healthy nations

2019 – U.S. ranked 35th in healthy nations

1983 – $17 billion spent on prescription drugs in the U.S.

2000 – $76 billion spent on prescription drugs in the U.S.

2015 – $425 billion spent on prescription drugs in the U.S.

An Elimination Diet Will Change Your Eating Habits

By | General Health Topics, Nutrition

Last September my wife and I did this elimination diet called the Whole 30. It cuts out certain food groups, reintroducing them one-at-a-time in order to identify foods that are inflammatory and don’t agree with you specifically (everyone’s different).

What you DO EAT: Moderate portions of meat, seafood, and eggs; lots of vegetables; some fruit; plenty of natural fats; herbs, spices, and seasonings; tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, walnuts).

What you DO NOT EAT for 30 days: No beans (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), chickpeas, lentils or peanuts (peanut butter too). No soy (MSG, soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, lecithin, soy milk). No added sugar or sweeteners, real or artificial. No alcohol…sorry. No grains (wheat, corn, quinoa, rice, buckwheat, oats, rye, barley, etc. No dairy (any type of cheese, yogurt, cream cheese, milk, cream in your coffee, ice cream, butter, kefir). No baked foods or junk foods (muffins, cookies, crackers, cakes, pies).

Since today is September 1st, I am, once again, doing a Whole 30. Mind you, I am not doing this to lose weight. While that may be the goal for most people that do this diet, I am doing it to change my relationship with food. Even though I was not trying to lose weight the first time I did the diet last year, I did end up losing 20 lbs. in 3 weeks. This year I want to see if I can lose no weight, but just really clean up my eating. Since doing the diet last year, I noticed some less than healthy habits creeping back in, so I figured it’s time for a re-set.

This diet takes some mental work and physical preparation. It’s kind-of hard because you’re shifting out of your automatic patterns (binging and eating without thinking about what you’re putting into your body), but I think people make it out to be way harder than it is. I like it because it’s a self-experiment that you’re doing for the betterment of your health. I’ve learned that what you eat is way more important than I ever gave credence to. I did ok with my eating, but allowed way too many infringements.

What ended up sticking for me after last year’s Whole 30 is that I almost completely eliminated wheat (all bread, muffins, crackers, beer, wheat pasta, sandwiches, pizza). I say almost because one or two times I’ve had a cheat desert, like pie with a crust. Everything else wheat is totally gone from my diet. I did re-introduce other grains back into my diet successfully, such as rice, oats, and quinoa. Although I did also re-introduce corn, I’ve cut back on it. I eliminated red wine, which, surprisingly, ended up being really toxic for me. After eliminating it for 30 days and then re-introducing red wine, it turned out to be really noxious to my system. I eliminated almost all dairy. I say almost because the only thing I allow is very occasional ice cream when we’re out as a family to get it. Otherwise, all cheese, cream cheese and yogurt is gone. I use cashew milk in my coffee and eat a special type of unsweetened almond milk Greek yogurt made by Kite Hill. Another thing that ended up being toxic for my system was black beans. While I re-introduced other types of beans, black beans ended up being particularly irritating to my gastric system. Another habit that I changed after the diet was that I don’t drink any alcohol during weekdays anymore, only on Friday or Saturday if I want a drink.

2 other things that I noticed while on the Whole 30 were that (1) my gastric system did way better and (2) my adult acne, which I’ve had for 40 years, totally cleared up like I’ve never seen before. It came back a little when I re-introduced foods, but nothing like before.

That’s the beauty of an elimination diet…you can wipe your system clean and then see what works and what doesn’t work for you. It’s completely specific to you and, I think, very revealing. If you feel like you’re on automatic pilot with your eating habits, it’s worth a try. But commit to all 30 days and see what your body tells you after.