Forced to drop medical aid

Forced to drop medical aid focuses on living without insurance.

Reports in the press confirm what most of us already know. Medical insurance has increasingly become out of reach for the majority; and since lock-down the industry has experienced a surge of cancellations from those who have lost their jobs.

Many are no doubt extremely worried; both patients who will lose their insurance and doctors who will forfeit 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.

Kefir in a colander

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 whilst living overseas.” We exploded in indignation.

There followed a time of contemplation; dare we go off all health insurance? What would happen if one of us was to get cancer?

Gradually peace came to our hearts and we decided to take the plunge but with a couple provisos. We would 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; a relative said I had become a food snob.

They were all correct but in retrospect it turned out to be one of the most beneficial decisions we ever made. We have hardly been sick in thirteen-years, with only a single serious hiccough; and take no medication.

That is pretty unusual for a couple in their mid-seventies.

"It has been estimated that 20% of Medicare beneficiaries have five or more chronic conditions; and fifty percent are taking 5 plus drugs."

Have we got it all right? Certainly not because greater well-being is a moving target; but it is better to aim your best shots, missing periodically than be ostriches pretending that sickness will never breach the moat.

With hindsight where would I start after 13 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.

Summer garden kale.

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 providing the many coloured fruits and vegetables that we now 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 now for ten to fifteen, many in tiny amounts; a sprig of parsley, for example.

Benefits of kale

The benefits of kale made a huge impact on our thinking; we eat it daily, usually in Eggs Hilton. It is the richest source of a very important phytonutrient called lutein. Also because I used to be prediabetic until I started to use food as medicine, we became inspired by its sulforaphane content; it's also an anti-carcinogen. My HbA1c is now 5.4; perfectly normal.

Breaking news in 2024 from the royal family in the UK confirms what we really do know but don't want to face up to; cancer does not just strike "other people."

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 movement we believe is a non-negotiable; especially after a starchy meal.

Bernie building a compost pile.

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 zestful old age is the norm.

I find it astonishing that there are no old-age homes in these five zones of the world. The elderly either continue living on their own or with their children. Is that not remarkable?

Broad beans

In these five zones, quite independently the people are gardeners, planting and enjoying growing broad beans; and most of their food. These legumes are horrid unless freshly-picked and eaten young; they are the only source of pharmaceutical amounts of levodopa, the happy hormone.

It is the precursor of dopamine, a very important hormone; a deficiency causes a serious neurodegenerative disease. You are unlikely to find broad beans at the greengrocer or in cans. They are also known as favas.

Blue zone people eat broad beans.

None of this was costly except in time; and the sweat from our brows. There were heaps of others on our journey to greater wellness, too many to mention but baking our own 100% wholemeal easy sourdough bread daily has to get an entry.

There is a huge mass of literature about the benefits of whole grains[1]. It meant finding a farmer able to supply 200kg of wheat and buying a mill. Thereafter it's just five minutes a day for the best-tasting and most nutritious loaf in the world.

Just one slice a day reduces the chance of getting breast cancer by nearly 50%; boggles the mind[3].

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. An egg on a bed of spinach or kale 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.

INflamed muscles, joints and organs

And lastly from reading the scientific literature discovering 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 despite the fact it does not raise blood glucose[2]; perhaps far more is okay.

Your own natural honey on freshly baked sourdough bread is without equal; but do try to follow a starchy meal like this with a short walk.

Keeping bees is a sound progression from using sugar for sweetening to your own raw honey.

Bread, cheese and honey.

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 appeared to be a very dark cloud could have a silver lining. It has saved us a huge amount of money, not to mention pain and sickness.

Yes it all takes time. Hours we think well invested, far less 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

Forced to drop medical aid can be immensely beneficial if we happily embrace a different lifestyle.

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Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • What are ultra-processed foods?
  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
  • Everyone is talking about weight loss drugs
  • Pull the sweet tooth
  • If you suffer from heartburn plant a susu
  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
  • Nature is calling
  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa