The future of health care will depend on Whole Foods, Plant-Based nutrition for 80% of the way. I consider it the first step towards realizing optimal health in a meaningful way. It is the only realistic path towards affordable health care insurance in the future, because it shifts the emphasis to prevention. In line with the Whole Foods, Plant-Based lifestyle, prevention over pills will have to become the operating principle. This shift goes along with taking responsibility for our own health and self-management. The new health care math is really simple in concept, but I want to bring it all together in one place here and lay a foundation for thinking about the health plans of the future. I think there are three steps in the logic that we must follow in order to get there. See also my earlier blog: Nutrition, Health and Wellness: Connecting the Dots.
In the end, it is all about eating your spinach. Clearly, the Affordable Health Care Act is a nice idea, but it kind of misses the point, as does the whole conversation about universal health care. The bigger health care issues are that the money is in prescribing drugs and procedures, not in helping patients become health and stay healthy. Until we have that conversation, an expansion of health care will just make the train wreck worse than it is already. Limiting SNAP to fruits, vegetables, whole grains and pulses would do more fore health outcomes. The same applies to updating the USDA/HHS dietary recommendations, which in their current form (MyPlate) are completely counter-productive, not to mention school lunches. Find more information on how easy it is to switch at the 4LeafProgram. For practical hand-holding in the whole foods plant based diet: a beginners guide to a whole foods plant based diet is available at PCRM. Their 21-day kickstarter is one of the easiest ways to get going.
The good news is that at least some health care plans are beginning to support Whole Foods, Plant-Based nutrition. In fact, Kaiser Permanente, the country’s largest health system, has been a leader. There are other hopeful signs, such as a recent deal on lifestyle medicine by Blue Shield of California: a collaboration with the American College of Lifestyle Medicine in educating health care providers in Whole Foods, Plant-Based Nutrition. Hospitals are increasingly putting #WFPB dishes on the menu, and medical schools are beginning to teach this type of nutrition. Recently, I spoke with the executive chef of a hospital in Florida who was busy putting together a whole food plant based diet plan. He was consulting the staff at Montefiore Hospital here in the Bronx and similar things are going on nation-wide ever since AMA and ACC (American College of Cardiology) have recommended it.
In this whole discussion about health care reform and the health care of the future, the pat assumption usually is that we have to ensure some level of universal access and that we should do a better job of controlling costs. A big reason is simple: because it ensures our national security (how would you fight an epidemic if we don’t have something near universal health care?). The fact that 85% of health care dollars are spent on diseases that are better treated with a Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet has not yet entered the dialog. To put diet first would do more to control healthcare costs and improve health care outcomes than anything else. The model of Western medicine is completely broken, and to expand access to the very health care system that brought us the opioid crisis, without appreciating that it needs a complete overhaul, is ridiculous.
Quantum medicine is the answer because it replaces the obsolete, mechanistic and ultimately Newtonian model of the body, with a new paradigm consistent with the quantum mechanics. Importantly, quantum physics implies downward causation, i.e. mind over matter, or specifically, the physical manifestation is the effect of a cause in the mind. Western medicine is stuck in a Newtonian model of upward causation, i.e. the body has a mind. What currently goes for “integral medicine,” or “alternative medicine,” is even worse because it employs a model of equivalency of mind and body, which is totally hit or miss and makes no analytical sense at all. The quantum health model that is authoritatively developed in Amit Goswami’s book The Quantum Doctor, provides the metaphysics for a new model of health and medicine and within that model, the lifestyle medicine, with its emphasis on the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet merely becomes the primary healing modality, which should account for 80% of the focus of primary care medicine. It is the truest “patient-centric medicine,” for it puts the patient in charge of his own health.
There is another way of looking at the health care crisis. The typical doctor-patient relationship that has emerged from pharmageddon, is a codependent relationship in which the patient abdicates responsibility for their health, and some how treats the doctor like a car mechanic, where you drop off your body in the morning, and pick it up again, fixed, in the afternoon. The model of “a pill for every ill” leads to an uncontrollable escalation of and abuse of pharmacological and procedural treatments and it has given us the opioid crisis and the rampant abuse of all prescription drugs, which in the vast majority of cases make things worse, not better. Perhaps the biggest example of that is viagra, because instead of immediately treating the cause of erectile dysfunction (ED), which is the early onset of cardio-vascular disease (CVD), and which should be treated with a Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet, but instead by selling them a blue pill, the doctor a) makes money, and b) ensures another $500,000 to $1,000,000 in medical billing over the next few decades, including statins and stents and $300,000 bypass surgeries. As Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. likes to say:
If the truth be known coronary artery disease is a toothless paper tiger that need never, ever exist and if it does exist it need never, ever progress.
He considers heart-disease completely reversible, with the plant-based diet, except for the most acute cases when an operation is absolutely unavoidable. By implication, this means that 80% of expenditure on treatments for CVD are unnecessary. The reversal with the plant-based diet happens so fast that usually with in weeks or months patients can be weaned of most or all medications and the same holds increasingly for Type II diabetes, MS, arthritis, cancers and a growing list of other diseases to one degree or another. It is a proven fact that the entire intestinal flora changes within three days up on changing over to a plant-based diet and in the case of sexual function cited above from the movie Game Changers, a single plant-based meal already makes a decisive difference.
The New Health Paradigm
- The mind of the patient is in charge of the healing. The whole-foods, plant-based diet demonstrates this principle particularly well, sometimes in dramatic ways, as in this video outtake from the upcoming movie The Game Changers: A Single Meal that Changes Sexual Performance. You are in charge of what goes into your mouth, period, full stop. In a deeper sense, the mind of the patient is in charge of the healing, in the spirit of Joe Dispensa’s book You Are the Placebo. The doctor (today’s Primary Care Physician), is really your subject matter expert in health care, who should be able to guide you to choose healing, and to know the tools and modalities available in case you have issues that go beyond their reach. His focus should be 80% lifestyle (nutrition and exercise) and 20% various healing modalities with Western medicine as a last resort.
- It is absolutely necessary to understand in the spirit of the movie Escape Fire, that if 85% of health care spending is on chronic, degenerative diseases which are preventable and largely or wholly reversible with a Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet (#WFPB), the corollary to that is that “medicine” is counter-productive 85% of the time. This is not to say that modern medicine cannot be extremely effective in other situations, such as particularly relating to trauma, though it is rapidly losing its grip on infectious diseases, which is what established its reputation. Today the problem of Western medicine is that if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and 85% of the time it is not the right tool. This is why it is completely absurd that politicians are focused on increasing access to a health care system that is a documented failure. All that does is create an even bigger disaster.
- There are multiple paradigm-shifts going on, which will be instrumental to true health care reform.
- It includes first and foremost the concepts of Quantum Health, as best described in Amit Goswami’s book The Quantum Doctor, which provides the necessary metaphysics to explain why it is that the mind of the patient is in charge of the healing.
- Whole Foods, Plant-Based nutrition becomes the new nutritional paradigm that provides a fully evidence based and coherent framework for nutritional science, as documented in T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study and also the book Whole. It should be the first and primary healing modality.
- The result is that Western medicine, which also gave us such roaring successes as the opioid crisis, is demoted to a first option for trauma situations and the like, but a last resort in most other situations. All other credible healing options must be taken seriously, guided by what will work for the patient, including naturopathy, homeopathy, ayurveda, Chinese medicine and so on. First and foremost we must move away, in economic terms, from the current format in which there is an incentive for more and more treatment, and prescriptions and procedures are compensated, but lifestyle medicine advice is not. The personal physician needs to come back and he should be a lifestyle physician, in the model of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.
The upshot is that the first option at all times becomes nutrition. Even with infectious diseases, supporting the immune system is at least as important as the unavoidable medications. Along with that all other credible healing modalities need to be includes, particularly also psychotherapy. Psychotherapy can in many cases be provided in the form of self-help groups, such as 12-step programs, once we recognize that we are addicted to bad food, and it is ruining our lives. Another brilliant self-help option for dietary support in health care is the Suppers Program, which is a home-based program for communal meal preparation with a view to supporting people in a new diet. It is based on the book Logical Miracles.
Quantum Health Operating Assumptions and Basic Math
- If 85% of health care spending is on the major chronic illnesses which all respond well to the Whole Foods, Plant-based diet, then let’s assume that over 20 years we can reduce the 85% by 75%, and there fore the new level of spending will now be 64% less than it is today and at 36% of today’s cost the country would suddenly be very competitive internationally. If we can go in this direction, we can reduce health care costs by 3.2% a year from current levels.
- There is a basic structural approach that is already available, in book form as The CEO’s Guide to Restoring the American Dream: How to deliver World Class Health Care to Your Employees at Half the Cost, by Dave Chase, who is the CEO of Health Rosetta. Early programs have already been under way in such companies as Whole Foods, and Geico, both of which combine a structural rethinking and a shift to prevention based on the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet over pills and procedures. A company called Switch Healthcare is already active in this area.
Pitfalls and Challenges for the new HealthParadigm
The primary pitfall is indeed the fact that people are conflicted and do not automatically and always do what is good for them, or else we would not have a drug problem, no smoking and no alcoholism. There would have to be a system in which compliance with good personal habits (lifestyle) is rewarded and conversely destructive behavior is discouraged with higher health care costs. I will devote another blog post to postulating what the ideal health care system might look like.
It helps to realize that even the work of Doug L’Isle, does not get at the real issue. His book The Pleasure Trap is extremely helpful in getting people to understand the addictive mechanisms that get in the way of simply switching from our toxic and self-destructive food habits to a health-promoting Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet. T. Colin Campbell at times glibly assumes that “the last time I checked, people want to be healthy.” Unfortunately this is just not so, and the real conflict is deeper than the essentially neuro-psychological approach of Doug L’Isle. One of the best books I know of that delves into this deeper conflict and points a path toward healing is Cindy Lora-Renard’s book A Course in Health and Well-Being, which is based on A Course in Miracles, and consequently dwells on the inner conflict that gets in the way of our health and well-being and sets us on a path to resolving those issues, which is absolutely the core issue.
Whole Foods, Plant-Based Nutrition is becoming a Trend
On the positive side, the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet is gaining traction fast and more and more people are learning the advantages of the plant based diet vs vegan diets, which may be chosen for environmental reasons, animal welfare, and so on. Unfortunately, many vegan diets are still unhealthy, or as the joke goes, you could eat chips and drink Coke and claim you are vegan – healthy it is not.
For the powerful reasons cited above – we are the house that is divided against itself – we will of course never see the kind of orderly decline in health care costs as suggested here. This is where some of the #WFPB community is over-optimistic. Still, there are signs that this movement is gaining substantial traction, and the Whole Foods, Plant-Based lifestyle is gaining the kind of momentum that it could really become a trend.
I do expect there to be significant jumps from time to time, for right now the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet is gaining acceptance by leaps and bounds with the appearance of a number of powerful documentaries this year, including The Game Changers, Big Change, Code Blue, What You Eat Matters and Eating You Alive. Of course, as so often it is the celebrities who kind of become instrumental in molding this trend.