Forced to drop medical aid focuses on living without insurance.
The article in the Witness (September 17, 2020) will confirm what most of us already know; medical aids have increasingly become out of reach for the majority, and since lockdown the industry is expecting a surge of cancellations from those with serious loss of income. Many are no doubt extremely worried, both patients who will lose their insurance and doctors who will lose an assured income.
And yet, for us at our green home, dropping all medical insurance turned out to be a profoundly positive step. Let me explain.
Having been on NMP for thirty years in SA, and for seven in the Netherlands where it is compulsory for all, we were shocked on our return to these lovely shores to be told that there was a huge premium to be paid “because we had not been on a medical aid.” We exploded in indignation. There followed a time of contemplation; dare we go off all medical insurance? What happens if…?
Gradually peace came to our hearts and we decided to take the plunge, but with a proviso. We were going to vigorously apply our minds to the precepts of better health, and set aside a sinking fund. Many thought we were crazy. Others called us fanatics; my cousin said I became a food snob. They were all correct, but in retrospect it was one of the most beneficial decisions we ever made. We have hardly been sick in ten years, with only one serious hiccough, and take no medication.
Have we got it all right? Certainly not. Better health is a moving target, but it is better to aim your best shots, missing periodically, than be ostriches and pretend sickness will never breach the moat.
With hindsight, where would I start after ten years of doing our damnedest to be disgustingly healthy? Oddly it would be with making a probiotic. Kefir was our choice, but it could be this homemade sauerkraut recipe or kombucha, for example. There is a huge amount coming out in the scientific literature about the great importance of a healthy microbiome; the bugs inhabiting out intestines.
Our first step in fact was to start an organic garden. Enjoying a large part of our food, freshly-picked and with no toxic pesticides provided the many coloured fruits and vegetables that we consume daily. Research revealing that those eating at least 7 coloured foods daily have a 35% lower all cause of death had a profound effect on our thinking. We aim for ten to fifteen.
The health benefits of kale made an huge impact on our thinking, and we eat it daily, usually in eggs Hilton.
Our second step was to ensure that we made
time for moderate exercise every single day. Whether it was a stroll in
the neighbourhood, a walk down the garden to pick our lunch, or starting a
compost heap, daily exercise we believe is a non-negotiable.
The third came directly from a fascination with the longevity in the five Blue Zones of the world; where ten times as many people reach a hundred and vital old age is the norm. In all five, quite independently the people are gardeners, all growing and enjoying growing broad beans. They are horrid unless freshly picked and eaten young; they are the only source of significant amounts of L-dopa, the precursor of dopamine, a very important neurotransmitter; a deficiency causes serious neurodegenerative disease. You won’t find them in the shops.
None of these steps were costly except in time, and the sweat from our brows. There were many others on our journey to better health, too many to mention, but baking our own 100% wholemeal easy sourdough bread daily has to get a mention. There is a huge mass in the literature about the benefits of whole grains. It meant finding a farmer able to supply 200kg of wheat, buying a mill and a bread machine. Thereafter it is five minutes a day.
One of the immediate benefits was the discovery that greens at least twice a day permanently cured the stubborn constipation that had plagued me all my life. Eggs on a bed of spinach for breakfast may seem strange, but it has worked wonders. When you are forced to drop your medical aid then one focuses perhaps for the first time on prevention; always better than a cure.
And lastly from reading the scientific literature that it is refined carbohydrates, and not fat, that in the main raises blood glucose, causes obesity and diabetes, and inflames our joints, muscles and organs. Oddly, once the decision was made, eschewing everything made with sugar and cake flour proved easier than I thought. Even our raw honey we limit to three teaspoons a day.
Your own natural honey on freshly baked sourdough bread is without equal, but I try to follow a starchy meal like this with a short walk.
For the record, I’m not recommending you quit your medical aid; but
being forced to drop it need not necessarily be a disaster. In fact,
welcomed and wholly embraced, what appears to be a very dark cloud could
have a very silver lining. It has saved us a huge amount of money.
Yes, it all takes time. Time we think well spent, less time probably than we would instead have spent consulting doctors and being indisposed. And maybe dead. Having been forced to drop medical aid due to the dumb insurance company policy turned out to be a great blessing; but only because we enthusiastically embraced this new lifestyle.
Forced to drop medical aid can be immensely beneficial if we happily embrace a different lifestyle.
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