151: The REAL reason to take care of your yourself
A Farmish Kind of Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. You can view our full affiliate disclosure here.
I’ve never considered myself to be a health nut. I’m also not that person that would tell other people what they should or shouldn’t put in their body. I have friends who live all sorts of lifestyles and follow all sorts of diets. I think what you put in your body is up to you. I think how much—or how little—you move your body is up to you.
You’re in charge of you.
Which is kind of a funny thought to land on because today’s topic is really about being in charge of you and your health—but it’s in a different, deeper way than what I previously thought. I’ve had a couple realizations the past week that overtook my brain and I figured it was something I needed to talk for a bit about here. Hopefully this won’t wander too much, and maybe it will be a lightbulb for someone else.
I eat decently. We raise all of our own meat (except for the beef we eat, which is raised by a friend that we trade our home raised pork for). I have a garden. I forage some things. I hunt. I cook from scratch. I’m not following the typical American diet, although I have been known to enjoy some decent homemade bread, a nice Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, or an old-fashioned when it suits me.
This post isn’t just about food, though. I know most the people reading this want to eat well and many of you are on the path to grow and raise some portion of the food you and your family eat.
But food has a lot to do with taking care of your body, which has a lot to do with your health. And health has been on my mind a lot since I came across a couple things this past week.
The First Thing…
Firstly, I started listening to One Second After by William R. Forstchen. It’s a fiction novel from 2009 about an EMP strike that knocks out power, electronics, communications, and most travel. Now regardless of what you think about EMPs or the likelihood of them, this book really digs into what could happen in a disaster when there is a long term or permanent situation of zero power, zero communication, no backups, no vehicles running except those that don’t use any electronics, (etc.) and it digs into how people react in the resulting panic. I think there are valuable lessons in the story regardless of what the of the original cause of the issue was.
But here’s what I really dug into and my brain hyper focused on, and I don’t think this is giving away any spoiler alerts—especially since I’m only about 5 chapters in. But here it is: in a situation where there is no power and no communication and no shipping, people who require daily medicine to live will run out of medicine. People who require medical contraptions to live won’t be able to service those contraptions, and if they are electrical at all— as is suggested in the case of an EMP strike in One Second After—they will fail.
And I got thinking about that while I was out working in my herb garden.
And I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
I thought about how it’s very normal in our mainstream world to be on some kind of medication, especially as we age. People rarely bat an eye while listing off what medications they’re taking—medications to take care of an issue in their body, and then other medications to counteract the symptoms of that first medication.
More than that, there are a lot of people don’t really “worry” about getting sick—save for the Covid craziness. They don’t “worry” about getting sick because as soon as there is a pill or a shot or some way to “fix” that disease, these people just figure, “ah well, I’ll just go to the doc, they can fix it, right?” It’s an inconvenience to deal with, but they’re relying on the fact the doctor has a pill or a shot to fix what ails them. So really… it’s not that bad, is it?
The Second Part…
Shortly after I started One Second After, I also listened to episode 2779 of The Survival Podcast where Jack Spirko talked with Niti Bali about Gaining Health Independence. Now, this is an especially long episode—a little bit over two hours long—but if you have a chance to listen to it, do it. It’s such a great conversation about health, medicine, health insurance, food, diets—everything that lumps together in the great American Medical/Health System. But a couple things that were said right off the bat that got me thinking were:
1 . You don’t see animals in the wild who are obese. It’s not a thing. Animals in nature are not obese. (paraphrase from podcast episode)
If you get a chance to hang out and watch animals in the wild you won’t find obese animals. Animals find the food they need, eat what they need, eat the right thing, go off and do their stuff, day in and day out. If you’re a hunter, you’re not sitting in your stand saying, “oh, there’s a deer, oh wait…I’m not gonna shoot that one, it’s 400 pounds overweight and can barely breathe while it’s crashing through the woods.” I’ve never done that with deer or bear or ducks or geese or pheasants or fish or anything in nature.
But us domesticated humans? Well, we’ve got lots of people who are overweight, obese, can’t breathe, legs don’t work, can’t stay awake, etc. And the animals we’re in charge of? They can be the same. We’ve got dogs on diet food because they’re pudgy—why is there diet food for dogs?—we’ve got dogs whose legs can’t support the weight of their belly because their humans feed them every time they look at them with their sad puppy dog eyes.
Domestication hasn’t been kind to us, and I found that really interesting to think about.
2 . We have come to assume and expect that as people age, they get on medicine for one reason or another, eventually their body starts to fail, the medical community keeps them alive, extends their life, and they suffer until their body gives up. We have lots of people lying in beds, waiting to die. Very rarely do you hear of people just “dropping over dead from old age” anymore. (paraphrase from podcast episode)
Now some of you are saying, “I have a health issue and I didn’t ask for this health issue.” And that’s absolutely a thing. There are people that end up with health issues that they didn’t contribute to. It was just bad luck in the draw.
But how many people out there now have health issues they did contribute to? And they don’t necessarily “worry” about it because it’s “normal”. Everyone’s doing it. We just go get a pill. The pill will fix it.
There are also people who will say, “we’re all going to die someday so what does it matter if I go out as a diabetic or in a car accident? I’m gonna live my life and do what I want.”
And I get that, too.
But when I was listening to One Second After and started thinking about people not getting the medicine that was going to keep them alive, there was almost this gut-wrenching response in me. And it wasn’t sadness or pity. It was almost…rise up and fight. What went through my head was basically, “if you require medicine to live, you’re no longer in charge of your life. Someone else holds the keys to your every breath.”
And I hated the sound of that.
And I hated the way that felt.
Once your body is kept alive or properly functioning by medicine or a contraption, you’re not in control. You’re on your knees in front of the doctor and the insurance company and the pharmacy saying, “please sir, may I have some more?” so you can keep breathing or walking or eating or sleeping.
This is a difficult topic
It’s a difficult topic because with medical improvements, people have the “ability” to stay alive longer. We can “fix” things we couldn’t fix before. And that’s great if we’re talking about putting someone back together after their car is creamed by a drunk driver. But I think our medical system has gone overboard. There’s a part of me that feels the medical system is involved in our lives in a really… weird way. There’s a point where it’s helping and it’s a blessing—and then there’s that point we need to start asking why are we doing this? There’s a point where we have to wonder: we’ve increased the length of people’s lives, but have we increased the quality of that longer life?
As a society, we’re uncomfortable with death. Death is no longer a “normal” part of life in our modern day world, not like it was 150, 300, or 600 years ago. Now, death is bad. Death is something we prevent for as long as possible, at any cost.
I’m not saying that death isn’t sad. I’m saying that death is a normal part of life. It’s something that happens to everyone. Something can be sad and also be normal at the same time—but I think we’re unwilling to face that.
Accidents have happened since the beginning of time. Accidents are tragic. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the person who smoked for 50 years and now has lung cancer and wants/needs medical intervention. I’m talking about the person who ate and ate and ate and never moved and is hundreds of pounds overweight and has all the health issues that come along with that and now wants/needs medical intervention.
And I’m not telling you not to smoke or eat all the food or sit on your butt. You do you.
But I’m gonna ask you to consider something.
How many people would not be alive today without their daily medication? How many people, if they had what they have now 100 years ago, would be dead? How many people who, if faced with a nationwide or worldwide long term disaster and couldn’t get their medication, would die?
How many? Because I’m willing to bet it’s a lot.
And we don’t even think about it until we’re faced with, “oh hey, there’s an issue with the supply of medication XYZ and by the end of the week, there won’t be anymore. Sorry.” As a society we just keep doling out the prescriptions and the pills and keep it all flowing and just don’t think about it, guys. Don’t pay attention. It’s fine.
Have you ever thought about how weird that is? How messed up that is?
How did we get here?
And if you’re going to be one of those folks who says, “yeah, but what about the kids who get type one diabetes or the person who was born with the birth defect? You can’t blame them for that…”
You’re right. But I think maybe we start looking at those people who didn’t have a choice and we start looking at our own lives and realize we do have a choice and use it as inspiration to do better.
In the end…
I hear this a lot: you can make all the right choices and get hit by a bus, so you might as well have eaten what you wanted to and done whatever you wanted to because in the end did it really matter? You still died.
And you know what? You’re right.
But for me, I’d like to be as in control of my life as possible. And handing over the fact that I walk and breathe and sleep and digest food properly isn’t something that I want to do. And do you know the best way we make sure that doesn’t happen?
We take care of ourselves.
Is it a guarantee? No.
Are there people who eat properly and exercise and do everything “right” and still come down with some health issue? Yep.
But I’m not 20 anymore. And as I look into the future, I’m inspired to do whatever is in my power to make it less likely that I end up kneeling before the American health system asking, “Please sir, can I have some more. Can I have another pill? Can I have another shot in the arm?”
A lot of us talk about wanting to be in control of our own lives, and not letting anyone else control us or tell us what we can and can’t do. So… you can control what goes in your mouth, right? You can control whether you do or don’t go on that walk today, right?
So what does this mean?
Maybe this is just something for you to think about. Maybe it’s something to start you in a new direction. Maybe it’s inspiration to recommit to something. Maybe you need to look at what you’re eating. How much you’re moving. Medications you’re currently taking. Ways to undo what’s already been done, if possible.
What are you putting into your body? Your mind? What do you need to get out of your body and your mind?
Keep control of yourself. The food that goes into your body, the degree to which you move that body, and lots of other things that have to do with your body are still your choice and have a lot to do with what your body will be able to do in the future.
If you don’t want to be at the mercy of the medical system, make the right choices now.
— Amy Dingmann, 6-1-21
Links mentioned in podcast episode intro:
My first show as a member of The Survival Podcast’s Expert Council : Episode 2880
Find More Goodies from A Farmish Kind of Life:
Podcast: here on the site or subscribe in your favorite podcast app
Books by me, Amy Dingmann: My books