A Healthy Lifestyle – or – How Do We Rescue a Broken Healthcare System?


We all want more out of life. Whatever makes us happy is worth to pursue. For some it’s traveling or cooking and for others it’s helping those in need. Regardless of what makes us happy it can only work if we’re healthy. Those of us following a healthy lifestyle might get more out of life already. However, what I have recently discovered will affect everyone sooner or later. If you have heard about “Escape Fire” than you already know what I’m talking about. I’ll get into this in a minute.

Who Needs Healthcare?

I always thought living a healthy lifestyle is all it takes to avoid most healthcare cost. That might be true to some degree; however, there is always someone in the family who needs medical care. Whether it’s our kids with an ear infection or our parents who need elderly care; we don’t get away from healthcare cost.

  • It is not about you or me – It is about a Nation

What I didn’t know or maybe I ignored it; is the fact that our nation is as sick as a dog. I’m sorry to say that, but it’s the truth.

In my opinion the only way to treat a nations “disease” is to educate the nation itself.  It is something that has to be done on a higher level. Whether it is the government, the Media or larger corporations who take the initiative. I’m not implying one government party is better than the other or some lobbyist are to blame for the existent healthcare system.

For instance the restriction of trans fats in NY was a great program, although it did nothing to teach people to eat less fast-food. It actually had the opposite effect. However it was a step in the right direction. Many years ago the government made it mandatory to wear seat bells while driving, because it saves lives. Guess what? No one is telling the average consumer that eating everyday arteries clogging fast food is killing people, too. Nothing is done to prevent these unhealthy eating habits.

  • Healthy foods need to be made affordable

The unfortunate problem is that low-income citizens are the most vulnerable in this vicious cycle. Just take look in your local supermarket. Guess what are the cheapest foods available? Highly processed foods – Surprised?  Of course not.  We all know that fresh foods like produce, meats and fish are expensive and in most cases not affordable for low-income consumers.  Well, let’s take a look in the dry goods aisle. You’ll find everything from simple gravy to complete meals, dog cheap of course and again – highly processed – with little or no nutritional values. I’m not saying you can’t have this type of food once in a while, but for some it is the only choice, because it’s affordable.

Choosing Foods With Healthy Ingredients

The other day I observed a mother with her grown up daughter in the jam and peanut butter aisle. Both were heavily overweight. They were looking for the best deal on peanut butter. The mother took a large jar from a popular company. I knew this type of peanut butter, one I was avoiding, because it has a ton of ingredients including trans fats. So I politely pointed out to her that this type of peanut butter is not healthy and referred to the ingredients label.  She quickly brushed me off saying that the big jar was of better value to her and it doesn’t matter what’s inside. “The price is right” she said and walked off.

No wonder this nation has an obesity problem and you can’t blame the people, because their choices are limited. Peanut butter is a very healthy product, when it includes peanuts only and not corn syrup and hydrogenated oils just to mention a few.  People who consume high amounts of saturated fats have higher chances of becoming overweight. I don’t have to tell you that obesity leads to all kind of diseases, so why not avoid these type of foods all together. (But that is where the vicious circle starts again…)

  • We eat what we can afford and wonder why we gaining weight

The cycle continuous as people gain weight and become sick.  Worst of all some of us don’t even have health insurance. Regardless, have you ever realized when going to the doctor that you are being rushed through the examination process? Then you might not be the only one. The fact is that most practices set a limit about how many minutes a doctor should see its patients. There is no time for a small talk or to get to the bottom of your health problem. Worse, if the doctor spends more time with its patients she is put under pressure to achieve her quota. We have become numbers and are no longer treated like human beings.  There are exceptions among doctors who fight for us and take the time, but they are against the system which is frustrating.

Lucky You – If You Are Healthy

At this moment the healthcare system is designed to put a Band-Aid on a wound that is already infected – instead of treating the source of the problem. In other words, the patient is treated with pills to keep the sickness under control. The patient goes home feeling a little better, but continues the same lame lifestyle with unhealthy eating habits and little or no exercise. The only one benefiting of this type of treatment is the pharmaceutical industry. For the patient it is a short-term solution and the vicious cycle continues.

A Healthy Lifestyle Does The Trick

Here is our chance to avoid this greedy healthcare system, which doesn’t want the best for us. Making the right lifestyle choices, which includes healthy eating habits and daily exercises. Many of us are doing this already, however the majority of people aren’t.

By living a healthy lifestyle we do our best to avoid obesity, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and maybe even cancer. I’m not saying we won’t get sick but at least it is the right step into a healthier future.

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Following the Safeway Principle

This large supermarket chain offers its employees discounts on health insurance if they are willing to exercise or quit smoking for instance. By offering such incentives, employees are motivated, less sick and more productive.

I think if more companies would follow this principle; the obesity rate would drop as well as other diseases. In the end, I would hope, the healthcare cost would drop and I think that is a valuable fact to fight for.

A Film Worth Seeing

Just recently I saw the documentation on CNN: “Escape Fire” which is about our lifestyle and how it is directly linked to our healthcare cost. This award-winning film sheds light to our daily lifestyle routine, eating habits as a nation and its inherited consequences that contribute to an ever rising healthcare cost. It describes all elements of a broken healthcare system. This documentation will truly go under your skin.

  • Why This Will Affect Everyone – Watch The Movie 

ESCAPE FIRE will be re-played on CNN on March 16, 2013 at 8pm, 11pm and 2am ET.



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I would love for you to leave your opinion (if you have one) or comment below. I would really appreciate it.


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  1. You’re right that most people are woefully uninformed about what a healthy lifestyle is, and how best to achieve it. Actually much of the medical community (particularity doctors) border on being nutritionally illiterate – not because they haven’t been taught about nutrition (although they spend very little time in school on this) but because the research community has done such a poor job (first eggs are good, then they’re bad, now they’re good again). And a lot of what is “true” might not be true at all. For example, there’s a lot of evidence that cholesterol doesn’t cause anything, but is a marker for a cause of heart disease in some people – inflammation. It just so happens that statins, which reduce cholesterol, also do a great job of reducing inflammation, and it’s this effect of statins, and not their ability to reduce cholesterol, that is so beneficial. Crazy, isn’t it? Anyway, good post – thanks.
    john@kitchenriffs recently posted..Irish Soda BreadMy Profile

    • Hi John,
      That is a great point you mentioned about the medical community. I think we all have to go back to the basics and realize that our nutrition is what keeps us healthy in the first place. I like your example of cholesterol and the statins. Thank you so much for excellent comments.
      Frank Kraemer recently posted..9 Most Unhealthy Eating Habits ExposedMy Profile

  2. What a great summary of what’s wrong with the health of most of the western world. I am always so annoyed at the high cost of healthy alternative foods. In our supermarket, we have one small section which is actually labelled ‘healthy foods’. What does that mean? The rest of the food is not healthy? Probably. But most people are like that lady you spoke to and have no idea and don’t want to know about what’s in their food.
    Suzanne Perazzini recently posted..Avocado cookies – gluten, grain and dairy-freeMy Profile

  3. Great story!!
    It is funny that everyone thinks I am genetically thin, nothing could be further from the truth, I eat healthy food and am mindful that my mum has diabetes and most of my family a large. It is always on my mind to “junk out” but I want to have a healthy, active, long life 🙂
    GourmetGetaways recently posted..Lemon Caper Flathead – Julie Goodwin RecipeMy Profile

  4. Excellent post Frank, I remember visiting US 8 years ago one of the things shocked me most were the size of portions served, something never seen before.
    Gourmantine recently posted..Hazelnut timeMy Profile

  5. Marlin Vaughn says:

    I have argued for years that we do not have a health care system in America. We have a disease-management system — one that depends on ruinously expensive drugs and surgeries that treat health conditions after they manifest rather than giving our citizens simple diet, lifestyle and therapeutic tools to keep them healthy. Great read.

  6. In 1986, researchers from the Harvard School of Public health began following over 42,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The men had no cardiovascular disease at the time they were enrolled in the study. The researchers then tabulated any cardiovascular events (heart attacks or death) that occurred in this population of men. They concluded that, had all men adopted five healthy lifestyle habits, over 60% of the cardiovascular events that occurred in this population would have been prevented.

  7. I recently interviewed Matthew Heineman, the director of the documentary Escape Fire , a film dedicated to deepening the national conversation on fixing our broken healthcare system. The film makes its nationwide debut tonight on CNN at 8pm and 11pm ET.

  8. Savannah U. Kirkland says:

    On March 16, tune in to CNN at 8 p.m. or 11 p.m. ET to watch the extraordinary documentary film ” Escape Fire: The Fight To Rescue American Healthcare ,” which vividly highlights what’s broken about our health-care system and what can be done to help rescue it. Our work about the power of lifestyle changes is featured in two segments in the second half of the film. If you’re a doctor, you can even receive continuing medical education credit by watching it.