Putting Parts Before the Whole: Healthcare Inflation

In recent blogs, I have explored the metaphysics of our health care system and why it needs to deal with a paradigm shift that is coming about on the back of Lifestyle Medicine and the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet but is much bigger than just a diet. As a society, we are missing the boat entirely as long as we ignore this really radical paradigm shift, which is long overdue a hundred years after quantum physics was born. Expanding our failing health care system without fixing it would make the bottomless economic disaster of health care only bigger. As some have said, what we are doing with our disease care model is nothing but mopping up the floor without ever turning off the faucet that has the sink overflowing in the first place. It is Sisyphus labor, but unfortunately extremely profitable for the sickness profiteers.

If you want to understand when the parts are worth more than the whole, there seem to be two good avenues: one is replacement car parts, and the other is medicine. You pick, the methodology is the same. For cars it makes economic sense. One-off is more expensive than mass production. For the body it makes no sense. It is always true that an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure, and the first stop should always be to know if there is anything you can do for your overall health that can help you heal, and possibly not need medicine at all in the first place or at least much less, just whatever is needed to support the healing process. Of course, if the situation is serious, you want to do that in consultation with a doctor.

In simple terms it boils down to this:

  • Modern medicine is no longer modern, for we no longer die from the infectious diseases which it was designed to fight in the first half of the nineteenth century, but from chronic illnesses that are all diet related. Yet medical doctors are ignorant of nutrition and the power of nutritional healing. “You will have to take this medicine for the rest of your life,” mostly means “we don’t have a clue.”
  • The germ theory of disease is a limited case – it applies to infectious disease only. Consequently, the allopathic monopoly on healthcare which is firmly rooted in that disease model, is furthermore inappropriate outside of that domain. Other straightforward situations are accidents, where the need for intervention is obvious, and our medical capabilities are at their best.
  • The leading causes of death today are diet and doctors (iatrogenic illness – i.e. including the better part of the opioid epidemic).
  • Polypharmacy is one of the biggest problems of modern medicine, and it results from the fact that different specialists will prescribe medications to the same patients for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, ED, RA, Type 2 Diabetes and whatever else, even though they all have one common cause – diet. Evidently, the medical profession studiously ignored diet until very recently.
  • The Newtonian, physicalist model of upward causation is the conceptual paradigm that has doctors fighting symptoms without achieving health because they are tinkering with the effects, and never addressing the causes of these diet-induced chronic diseases.
  • Our health is not a Newtonian machine, like a car that simply needs periodic service. The disaggregation of health into treatable disease conditions and marketing to that managed demand, is profitable for the medical-industrial complex, but ruinous for your health.
  • Conversely, the realization that the organization of the universe is one of downward causation, as quantum physics teaches us, means that healing begins in the mind of the patient, because everything begins in the mind, and the tools of taking control of our health on a practical level are the focus of Lifestyle Medicine and the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet.
  • Given that the current vast majority (80-90%) of healthcare expenditure is spent on treatment for conditions that do not yield to medical treatment, then those treatments are counter productive, as they allow the disease to fester. Instead these conditions need to be addressed with diet and nutrition, as well as sleep hygiene, exercise and relaxation. At a minimum the treatment of symptoms only enables us to continue with unhealthy behaviors and letting disease processes fester.
  • The fact is that when a man first shows up with ED, he can be profitably prescribed Viagra, or he could go on a Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet. But lifetime billings from a juicy heart patient can be as much as $5 million, starting with Viagra, progressing through baby aspirins, statins and stents, bypass operations and so on. So what doctor would turn away such a juicy customer? Apparently only the few who actually do care for their patients. They are the pioneers of Lifestyle Medicine.

Regulatory Capture

Economic analysts and policymakers both are too complacent about the very systemic nature of corruption, but we need to come to grips with the fact that in very simple terms every action causes an equal and opposite reaction, and we should not ignore such issues until it is too late, and wait until every few years it erupts into a major scandal but meanwhile nobody addresses the cause. In every form of economic system, you WILL get corruption that fouls the gears. It is unavoidable, so, why act so surprised, or for that matter why don’t we look harder for this?

In the case of the medical profession, it is clear that the AMA has created a monopoly for allopathic medicine, while trashing other healing modalities they perceive as competition, but the world has shifted under their feet, allopathy is becoming less relevant and the systemic corruption is more visible since we know more today. The simple point is that the preeminent position of allopathy and therefore the whole medical industrial complex (‘pharmageddon’) is completely dependent upon the germ theory of disease and the reductionist/physicalist paradigm on which it rests. This is a niche case, valid in its own right but not a comprehensive model of human health. This goes so far that the regulators have actually fully co-opted the reductionist life-sciences research paradigm so they have become the protectors of a healthcare model that is fifty years out of date. The model focuses on the problem, not the solution.

T. Colin Campbell brilliantly and very accessibly discusses these issues in his books The China Study and Whole. In the most simplistic sense, you could look at it this way: getting 100% of RDA of all nutrients, gets you expensive urine, but not health. Vitamin C from an apple is absorbed by the body 265x better than from a supplement, so nutrition is about a whole-food matrix of nutrition. Similarly, in general, the fiber in fruit and vegetables improves the absorption of lots of nutrients. Adding back fiber with Metamucil or Benefiber supplements solves nothing; you needed to be eating whole foods in the first place. Identifying the effect of a single nutrient and how it relates to changes a single condition is a reductionist exercise that ignores the whole, and the same applies for medicine as well as nutrition.

The very reductionist model for validation of the effectiveness of drugs guarantees their ineffectiveness and it should be noted that ineffectiveness is more profitable. After all profitability comes from continued treatment and selling drugs, not from healing people. Similar to the idea that the USDA serves the producers over the customers (the taxpayers, citizens), the FDA protects the interests of the pharmaceutical industry by enforcing adherence to the research model, which embeds the reversal of cause and effect that is implicit in this reductionist model, for matter cannot be the cause of anything. The resulting model is irrelevant to the present needs, when most people suffer and die from chronic illnesses that are diet induced.

The reductionist framework is rooted in the assumption of upward causation, so even if research is done according to rigid “peer reviewed” standards within this reductionist model, it must produce nonsense in the end. Therefore the FDA safeguarding these scientific standards commits them to an irrelevancy as long as the limits of that research are not understood. For drugs, as much as for supplements, every study should be controlled for diet, i.e., a population on an average diet vs. a population on a Whole Foods Plant-Based diet. As we now know, in many cases, drugs and other interventions might not even be needed, for the majority of diseases we suffer from nowadays are caused by diet.

The elevation of this reductionist scientific methodology is akin to the story of the drunk who is looking for his keys under the streetlight and when a passing cop asks him where he lost the keys, he points somewhere outside the circle of light. The cop asks him: “So why are you looking there?” “Because there’s light here.” Tinkering with the effect (the symptom) cannot EVER change the cause – in this case, the disease condition that is causing the problem in the first place. A single, simple cause, nutrition, wipes out a lot of profitable treatment opportunities. In many cases, insulin dependent diabetics can be off all of their medicines in three weeks to three months by going on a Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet.

Medicine and Car Parts

Car parts are priced such that it would cost you many times the price if you had to build the car from parts. The same thing holds in medicine, for nobody is looking at the whole, and if you listen to the individual specialists, who are like the famous blind men and the elephant, then you can follow all of their treatments and you will spend enough to feed a family of five (or more) but you will never be whole or healthy. This is entirely analogous to the idea that 100% of RDA of all known nutritients does not make health. If we are scanning for symptoms, we can sell lots of medical interventions, until we finally realize the common cause that is behind them all.

Again, it is the reductionist framework and its implied physicalist assumptions (upward causation), which set us up for tinkering with the effects while ignoring the cause, like moving the deck chairs on the Titanic. As soon as cause is thought to be physical in nature, you’re already lost and the road is open for promoting diseases and even inventing new diseases (see Seamus O’Mahony, Can Medicine Be Cured?) In short, just like with supplements, which are not well absorbed by the body and sometimes outright harmful, the easy money is in selling you supplements, not apples. With medicine it has become all about the marketing of disease, and there is more money to be made if you start from the effect (the symptom), where the problem by definition cannot be solved. Just keep the customer (patient) focused on the unsolvable problem (“You will have to take this medicine for the rest of your life”) and you have a captive customer for your solution.

I recently read a book on heart disease that is a perfect example of this type of disease mongering in my eyes. An Australian cardiologist by the name of Dr. Warrick Bishop, wrote a book titled Your Real Risk of Heart Attack: Is the single biggest killer lurking inside you and what to do about it? However well intentioned and nicely executed, it is a perfect example of how traditional medicine altogether misses the point. It is preoccupied with selling its skills, and ‘solutions.’ It is all about what tests to take and how to interpret them and what to do about it in medical terms. Compare that to Dr. Esselstyn’s simple prescription of getting you cholesterol below 150 and making yourself heart attack proof by switching to a Whole Foods, Plant-Based (#WFPB) diet.

If you eat a Western diet, and you are over 60, you have CVD (Cardio Vascular Disease) to some degree – no other tests needed. In fact, the Brooklyn Borough President just published research that says 70% of school children have the early signs of heart disease. If you happen to be Southeast Asian, you can safely say over 40, for genetically the diameter of their arteries is smaller than of Westerners. And still… it is reversible by diet. We need to shift from treating disease symptoms to prescribing health, which is what the newly emerging practice of Lifestyle Medicine is doing. There is no reason for heart disease, or diabetes, or a lot of cancer. For people who are on a whole foods, plant-based diet any of the markers for heart disease are somewhere between improbable to impossible and if we eliminate added oils the intramyocellular lipids that are the real cause of diabetes, will not form. For that matter, if you don’t feed your cancer with animal protein and sugar, lots of tumors will never develop.

The reversal of cause and effect is the fundamental confusion why people end up with hands full of medications and no health. Currently perhaps the two most famous stories are those of Dr. Saray Stancic, which is documented in the movie Code Blue Documentary. Dr. Stancic very nearly filed for Social Security Disability because of MS, while she was still an intern, and “accidentally” discovered the whole foods, plant-based diet. In the course of a year, she became free of her meds, and is furthermore a-symptomatic. The other currently famous story of the moment is that of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and his 80-year old mother. After he reversed the onset of blindness (in three weeks) and his diabetes with a Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet (his A1C went from 17.1 to normal in three months), his mother did the same and in three months was off of insulin and free of a whole handful of medications.

One Cause Fits All

Dr. Dean Ornish now speaks of the unified theory of disease. In Lifestyle Medicine the focus will completely shift from treating illness to maintaining health. The nature of your consultations with your doctor will change. Primary care physicians will be restored to the primary role they ought to have in the first place. Of course, there still are infectious diseases that need to be addressed with more immediate intervention, and there are accidents, etc. Those are areas were medical pills and procedures should be the first line of defense, but they are only a small part of healthcare spending. However, with the chronic illnesses that are predominantly what we die from in America and most of the West, it is diet and not pills and procedures that should be the first line of defense. There is no reason not to be decisive about this. Dr. Esselstyn will simply not work with people who will not commit themselves to sticking with the program. Life is too short for that. He is up over a thousand patients with full recovery, some of them surviving their cardiologist-assured life expectancy by 20 years.

The Illness Extortion Racket

It is the inverted, physicalist paradigm, that confuses cause and effect that sets people up to be exploited by a host of specialists, until they take responsibility for their condition and take action. It all goes even further than that, for within the presumed omniscience of allopathy, we have now evolved to pure highway robbery where every specialty and even subspecialty becomes its own business, driving medical bills through the roof. If you have the patience, you might read the book An American Sickness by Elisabeth Rosenthal. She puts it all together in great detail how American medicine in particular has completely devolved into profiteering on disease on the back of the insurance companies and health programs and therefore ultimately on the tab of all who are insured. Healthcare, so-called, with a horrible misnomer, has become the commissary on the plantation, making sure that the slaves are stripped of every last asset they ever managed to acquire. The problem of medical bills and bankruptcies (62% of bankruptcies are caused by medical bills and mostly for people WITH insurance) is now so large that there are not for profits and even churches who are getting involved in saving people financially after the medical profession is done with them.

This medical profiteering is only possible within the allopathic disease treatment model and by focusing on the problem, not the solution. They have you over a barrel only as long as you believe in their disease model of everything. This greedy exploitation of the insurance system, is merely the turbocharger to the medical mistake we are living today. Evidently, if Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is reversible by diet, which it is in almost all cases, then insulin is largely no longer needed, and we can go on and on and on. The model for these changes is the movie Plant Pure Nation, and similar programs (along the model of the Oasis Jumpstart) are happening around the country today, and people are regaining their health and shedding hands full of medications.

Conclusion

The shift from the physicalist (Newtonian) disease treatment model to the Lifestyle Medicine model implies a choice by the patient to want to be well and to take responsibility for their health. Conversely, buying into the AMA-allopathic model renders the patient a willing victim of the exploitation that is medicine today. It is in the process of blowing itself up, for for every doctor who brazenly pursues the greedy exploitation of the medical system for private gain (affectionately known as “drug whores,” in the pharmaceutical industry parlance) there are others who have a conscience and are dying to practice medicine as it should be. For them Lifestyle Medicine is a path to a more fulfilling professional life. It becomes a case of money can’t buy me love.

The Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet is the principal instrument that probably should be 80% of the effort but sleep hygiene, relaxation, and exercises are all part of it. An experienced plant-based doctor should be your counselor in particular if you were on medications before and/or if you encounter any anomalies along the way and need to tweak your program, but the emphasis will shift from treating disease to maintaining health. By the same token many other valid and valuable treatment modalities may become increasingly relevant as the centrality of the patient’s mind in healing is becoming more appreciated. Everything revolves around the choice for health and wholeness, including the means that are chosen to get there. With Lifestyle Medicine and a Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet, healthcare will finally be what the name implies.

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