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7 Ways to Care for Your Health Every Day

I'm often asked how to go about finding a family physician who emphasizes the importance of our daily choices and isn't quick to lean on prescription medications to address common health challenges.

The reality is that the health care system in most developed countries isn't designed to have family physicians work with this mindset. Of course there are practitioners who encourage healthy choices in what we eat and how we live, but for the most part, the incentives are such that income is tied to total patient visits and services rendered. A doctor who spends an hour or even 45 minutes with you per visit to discuss what you might try with your diet and how you might care for your joints daily likely wouldn't be able to cover overhead and make a living that justifies the time and resources spent to earn a medical degree.

Beyond emergency medical services, I believe it's accurate to say that much of health care as it's delivered today is more aptly thought of as health screening. That is, the vast majority of time spent by primary care physicians and some specialists is on screening and monitoring your health for signs of disease. The actual care of your health is most effectively and efficiently done by you on an everyday basis.

General requirements for good health are profoundly simple.

  1. Prioritize regular restful sleep.

  2. Eat nutrient-rich foods that your body digests well, and aim to chew your foods to liquid.

  3. Strive not to eat more than you need to fuel your daily activities.

  4. Improve and maintain mobility and agility by caring for your joints and keeping your core well conditioned.

  5. Nurture healthy and enjoyable relationships. Avoid ones that consistently drain you.

  6. Have fun. Make time for people and experiences that delight you, that make you smile from your heart and laugh from your belly - such smiling and laughing are effortless.

  7. Engage in work and hobbies that you find fulfilling. Remember that fulfillment is closely tied to feeling like you are making progress at something through regular effort.

Yes, I make no reservations in writing that the actions outlined above constitute the best health care we can find in this world. It's a real privilege to have access to caring health professionals who can skillfully monitor our health, carry out helpful procedures when necessary, and even guide us with prescription medications when they are more beneficial than not to take. But let's remember that each of us is personally in charge of the biggest determinants of our health.


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