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Treat or Prevent?

Greetings and Where's Babs?!? I hope you're doing well. Only a few people call me "Babs". One time, one of those few sent me a message with a riff on the popular kids' books, "Where's Waldo", not because I wore jeans, a red and white shirt, black-framed glasses, and a stocking cap, but because I was traveling so much. For a while, I would do Facebook posts of my journeys and title them, "Where's Babs". I'm not doing as many check-ins lately, however I am still on the move. Since November, I'm pretty much up and down the east coast. I'm also looking for someplace to hang my hat for a bit. I'll keep you posted.

Whether I'm taking on a hospital nursing contract, working on a farm, house and pet sitting, or simply driving from one side of the country to another, I get to meet a lot of people. As part of the medical model, I'm really interested in maintaining and staying on top of my own health as well as talking to others about theirs. Watching mainstream television sometimes freaks me out because of so many commercials about prescription drugs. The implication is that we can take a pill or inhaler or injection for just about anything. That may be true but that's not the whole story.

First of all, if you pay attention, either there is a warning on the bottom of the tv screen, in very small print and without a lot of time to read it and/or an announcer reads, extremely rapidly, a litany of "potential side effects". If you were able to actually decipher some of them, you'd see that they are pretty undesirable and "even death" is sometimes included in the list. At the very least it's usually "nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, insomnia, skin rash" ...Yikes!! Don't forget, once you start taking these medications, you've pretty much committed to taking them forever and you will likely be looking at more drugs to deal with the side effects. Doesn't sound so great to me -- how about you?

One important piece that's missing is the idea that either a condition can be prevented or treated and reversed through healthy habits. A good example of this and one that's becoming very common is Diabetes Type II. More and more people are being told by their doctors that they are pre-diabetic -- that is, their blood sugar is higher than normal, but not quite high enough to get a full diagnosis. This could be a golden opportunity, yet some medical professionals do very little to help their patients head off this dis-ease. I always hear people say, "Well, my parents and my grandparents had this, so it runs in the family." That's true and it's caused, unknowingly and innocently, because we just didn't know that what our parents and grandparents ate (and what we are continuing to eat) plays a huge part in our health breaking down over time. It's not because we're turning 40, 50 or 60. It's because we are consuming "foods" that are not supporting us.

There is so much wonderful research going on regarding how much a healthy gut biome is essential to living well and long. Our microbiome is made up of bacteria, viruses, and fungi and while some are not so great, many others are extremely important to our immune systems and other aspects of our health. A diverse microbiome is good for us and the food we eat affects the diversity of our gut bacteria. If we eat a lot of sugar and processed foods, we eliminate the beneficial bacteria which, in turn, causes damage and inflammation, among other problems.

I've mentioned functional medicine before -- this is a systems biology-based approach to identifying and treating the root causes of disease. Dr. Mark Hyman is an activist and advocate for re-educating ourselves and using food as medicine. His books are easily available and provide a guideline for getting better. Many other healthcare professionals are showing up with suggestions and recommendations, too. The library might be somewhere to start or look for a practitioner near you through the website for The Institute for Functional Medicine,

Using food that nourishes us is a form of treatment as well as a means of preventing many metabolic disorders. Find out how you can feel better and live your best life and be care-full.

Feeling dazed and confused? Sometimes we just need a little guidance and support from someone who is only one or two steps ahead of you. Contact me for a complementary session if you're tired of trying to figure it out all on your own.

Happy Healthy Habit Hump Day,


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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

is a sassy Queen-ager whose mission is to co-create a happier, healthier life with and for others.

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