7 Ways to Join the Health Revolution and Change the World


As a physician the number of people I see suffering with depression, obesity, diabetes, anxiety, heart disease, autoimmune conditions – and much more – is staggering. Beyond sad, I get angry when I think about it – because these are all preventable problems. But disease prevention is not something we’re typically taught in medical training.

We live in a world where too often, profit trumps human and planetary health. This skewed motivation drives nearly every industry on the planet – including Big Agra, Big Food, and Big Pharma – all of which have a BIG IMPACT on our health.

Modern medicine is not exempt. It also operates as an industry, and though most primary care physicians are not personally driven by the profit motive, they are held captive by a system that does not value prevention.  Physicians are given neither the time nor reimbursement by the medical system to focus on truly preventative medicine, and even if we were…physicians don’t always know where to start. We were just not taught those skills. In my 7 years of continuous medical education I received exactly 50 minutes of education on nutrition, and had ZERO classes on stress reduction, promoting healthy lifestyle, and exercise.

Yet chronic diseases are lifestyle-diseases!

To make matters worse, Big Pharma perpetuates a drug model of prevention and solution through its significant influence on medical education, research, political lobbying, and advertising.

Ultimately we are paying the price with our health.

Our Lives Depend on a Health Revolution!

In the US, 1 in 3 Americans is already obese. This number is now expected to reach nearly 50% by 2030.

The number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could increase 10 times by 2020 – and then double again by 2030.

“Western” health problems are now also the greatest killer-diseases globally due to western influences. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), death from chronic diseases now accounts for double the number of deaths from all infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria), AND maternal and perinatal conditions, AND nutritional deficiencies COMBINED!

While practicing medicine in Haiti in 2012, I saw this with my own eyes. Visiting the prosthetics lab, I learned that most of the amputations in Haiti were not due to injuries from the earthquake or motor vehicle accidents, as I’d assumed, but from untreated diabetes!

Some of the saddest news is that diseases that were previously only seen in adults are now becoming rampant in our kids – diabetes being one of the most prevalent – and preventable. This current generation of children is the first in history to have a predicted life expectancy lower than their parents!

The overwhelming economic burden of obesity-related health care costs is already crippling our health care system, and when you account for the eventual lost productivity of those who are ill, the impact on society is devastating! Furthermore, the industries and practices that negatively impact human health affect the planet which in turn has an impact on human health. We’re all connected in this web of life, and when one facet is damaged it becomes a vicious cycle for us all!

Being Healthy IS Revolutionary

Solutions are quite within reach – and it is our choice whether to grab them. We may have previously been brainwashed into believing that we need the products of the very industries that perpetuate or profit from our sickness, but with the choices and information available to us now, we cannot make any more excuses.

It’s time to Take Back Our Health! Every healthy lifestyle choice we make is another vote for a healthier world. Being Healthy is Revolutionary. We have the power to make changes happen!

Here are 7 of the most important steps you can take as a health revolutionary. I challenge you to take them all on at once, or take the next 7 months to integrate these changes into your life, one each month. I’ll be right here with you, doing them, too! There are many links below to help you get started.

Have fun with this. Changing the world can be a great party if we do it together!

7 Ways to Join the Health Revolution RIGHT NOW!

Eat Healthy
Eating healthy is not just great for you; it is a powerful way to vote for social change with your fork! How to do it?

  • Eat all natural, whole foods in the least possible processed possible forms, organic when you can. These foods are better for you and the environment.
  • Cook at home more. Have meals with friends and family. Good food and community lead to health.
  • Cut out the white flour, sugar, sodas and transfats. These are the biggest culprits in disease promotion.

Vote with Your Wallet
You work hard to earn your money. Why give it to companies that are making us sick? While you may think you have no power to make a change in the world given the overwhelming scope and size of the problems we face, YOU DO! We each have the power to make SHIfT HAPPEN. It’s called economics, baby! BIG BIZ knows what the trends are and they don’t wanna’ be left behind. What you purchase, where, and from whom is part of the economic loop that governs trends. So vote with your money:

  • Purchase “green” whenever you can
  • Purchase from local and small vendors when possible
  • Prioritize companies – from your clothing to your household goods to your foods and body and health products – that have “green” values, that are ecologically and socially conscious, and maybe even give more than they take!

Be a Trendsetter!
Sometimes you’re the only one at an office lunch or parent group making the healthy food or lifestyle choice. That can be a little uncomfortable. But I promise you, you’re really not alone (see #7), and you’re setting a powerful example for your friends and colleagues. Health can be contagious! Set the trend even if it’s going against the grain. Your planet thanks you!

Live a Non-toxic Life
The average American woman puts 15 different potentially toxic chemicals on her face every morning. And that’s just a fraction of the exposures to toxic chemicals, including heavy metals like lead and mercury, that we experience daily. American babies are born with over 300 environmental contaminants detectable in their umbilical cord’s blood at birth. Most of the fish in our oceans have too much mercury to be eaten safely anymore. And we know that exposure to plastics in food packaging and water bottles can disrupt our gynecologic health and our fertility! Choose environmentally friendly products, from your cosmetics to household cleaners to food packaging, even to your furniture and kid’s toys.

Take Responsibility for Your Health
When we’re healthy we don’t contribute to the profits of the medical system because we don’t need it as much! What’s more, we cut down on the amount of pharmaceuticals that are dumped into the environment – which is so significant that in some rivers and lakes, male fish are turning female just from exposure to water contaminated by birth control pill waste. Antibiotics in the meat industry account for most of the antibiotic resistance in the world, which is a global health crisis (not to mention the impact on our gut flora!).

Simple health steps:

  • Get healthy habits: Eat well, exercise more, reduce stress, spend more time in nature
  • Surround yourself with inspiring people who also happen to make you laugh regularly!
  • Learn about safe, natural and effective alternatives to common – and often unnecessary and harmful – pharmaceuticals
  • Find health care providers that are part of the health revolution!

Live Sanely in an Insane World
Life can be stressful, demanding, and distracting. When we’re stressed and distracted we often don’t make the best choices for our health. Learning to be mindful – which means living from a place of self-awareness – increases conscientious decision-making. Conscientious decision-making is what this is all about. The healthier our personal decisions, the healthier our world. Being mindful means slowing down enough to say: Do I need to (eat this junk, buy this cosmetic, use this product, etc.) right now or ever? Being mindful of our habits and patterns allows us to change them. It’s a crucial practice for health revolutionaries. When we feel great we make the best health choices for ourselves. How do you get more mindful and make better life choices? Try working with a life coach. It could be truly revolutionary for you!

Find (or create) Your Tribe
Working together is more fun, and research shows it’s the best way to get healthy, lose weight, and free ourselves of old and unhealthy habits. You are definitely not alone in wanting to help make your life – and the world – better. The revolution is growing (even if it’s not being televised!) in the form of web-tribes like this one, community action groups, and organizations dedicated to making change in areas like clean, green living, healthy food, new ways of thinking, raising our kids, birthing, even cosmetics. The web truly is worldwide so wherever you are, you can find a tribe, grow a tribe, get connected. Here are a few ideas:

Environmental Working Group
Robyn O’Brien/AllergyKids Foundation
TEDX: The Endocrine Disruption Exchange
Collaboration on Health and the Environment

And of course, stay tuned here as you JOIN ME in creating a tribe of health revolutionaries. Vote “YES” for health in the comments below, and if you are inspired, share how you practice being a health revolutionary in your life.

In solidarity for health,

AJR-Sig

 

 

 

 

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Melinda

Thanks for this wonder post!!!! I started going to an integrative medicine doctor but she has recently retired. I was very upset that she retired but understand her choice to start doing more things she loves. I will continue the fight for my family and my self so I vote YES!!!!

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jonnie

Thank you!! This well thought out info means so much!! That you would take time to get this info to your readers :)

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Vicky

Perfect New Year's post! I was diagnosed with fibroids and polycystic ovaries last month. I got your botanical medicine book, consulted with a wonderful herbalist and feel like I am already making progress. I truly appreciate your work! I agree that it can be uncomfortable to be a lone vegetarian at a pot luck, or whatever, but when people ask for a recipe and then email later that they made it and it was good...well you never know what impact you can have. Thank you for doing your part so well.

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Jade Shutes

Thank you Aviva. Thoroughly enjoyed your insights. I join you in this health revolution!

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Louise

OMG, Aviva...you precisely summed up what I have been telling my family, co-workers & any one else who would listen for years! I have been a RN for nearly 4 decades & I am horrified at not only the amount of preventable, chronic disease that is now running rampant in our society, but by the 'usual' response of many physicians of simply writing a prescription before moving on to the next patient. As you pointed out, it is a complex issue & physicians are certainly not solely responsible for this tragedy. The first step we must all take in order to move forward to a healthier society is to each take back the resposibility for the proper care & feeding our own body & stop expecting that someone else will always fix what we break.

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Kellie

Excellent! Thank you! I vote YES!

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Coren Wheeler

Thank you Aviva, for following your truth and inspiring all of us with your whole hearted knowledge and insight. I enjoy reading each and every blog, and I hope to sign up for your herbal medicine course someday. Best wishes for a prosperous and joyous New Year!

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Eelyn

I want to thank you for the wonderful and insightful information you post here. I wish that all people would subscribe to these principles. Yes, the people in this country need to let their voices be heard about what and how our government is allowing Big Biz, Big Agra, and Big Pharma to make/keep us sick. As a people we need to take responsibility and educate ourselves for our own health. We can start here. Keep the information coming. I am one that will surely pass it own.

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Shayna

Dear Aviva ~ you state all these truths so eloquently ... thank you for being a guiding force for excellence ~ Brava!

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Ken Jaques

Awesome post Aviva, I am "All In". This is so desperately needed, and is growing by the day. Cheers, Ken

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Julie

I vote YES. My daughter and I are joining a gym tomorrow to support us both. This way, I feel we will excersize like we are suppose to. I wish I had more support on my end but we are working on it. Thank you for all you time you spend teaching us followers. Julie

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Robyn

Aviva, you are a rockstar! Thank you for your brave and enthusiastic insistence on getting this knowledge out to the people. Im due today with my 3rd child! I've had them all at home, naturally, with a team of mudwives and doulas. They are not immunized, and of course, healthy and beautiful! We use silver colloid and essential oils, as we'll as healthy whole organic food as our "doctors", and when they are officially sick, we go to a naturopathic doctor friend and our pediatrician. We keep life pretty simple and fun. I'm grateful everyday. I vote YES!

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Caroline King

I am still confused as to how many medical doctors do not see the connection between diet and health, and if they do why they continue to be silent or held captive by AMA. So thankful for your insight and the insight of others who are taking charge of their health. If left to the doctors my 22 year old son would now have a colonoscopy bag. Not sure I spelled that right. When he came down with ulcerative colitis last year three gastro. specialist said diet had nothing to do with the condition, but he would most likely be on medication and part of his colon would have to be removed some day---no cure. Thankfully I knew we at least had a shot to stop it. So I began my research into what tinctures would help stop the inflammation and begin healing the gut, what teas he could drink to sooth, and what foods he could avoid that might be causing his inflammation. Thankfully we celebrated one year free of symptoms this past December! He is faithful with a strict wheat free dairy free diet, two foods which seem to cause flare ups. We eat all organic meats, fruits and vegetables...no boxed foods in our house! This way of living has changed our health. It is interesting that my other son who has suffered from ulcers for many years has not had the same results. He still wants to eat foods that cause irritation and inflammation and at a physicians advice, takes medication to try and heal his ulcers. They haven't worked and he doesn't want to believe the doctors could somehow be wrong....they spent years in medical school for goodness sake!

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JoAnn Stark

Thank you Aviva, I will do my best to be part of the Health Revolution. I appreciate your energy, wisdom, and inspiration. JoAnn

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Ana

I vote YES! Aviva, you rock!

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Amy k

Yes! I purchase eggs, meats from local producers. As a family, we eat whole, organic foods as much as possible prepared at home. I am feeling great while healing IBD with diet(GAPS/SCD), supplements, and non big pharma treatment.

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Jessica Jackowski

YES Aviva, YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We need to connect our bodies with the soil that nourishes us. What a HUGE disconnect there is between the health of the soil and the health of our bodies and all other living beings. There is lots of work to do, but I am continually inspired by the Aviva tribe. :) Thank you and please keep on keepin' on. :)

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Lee

For decades, I have advocated and modeled the Health Revolution, being mindful of each decision and how it affects myself and others. Having allergies that were not being addressed by main stream medicine, spurred me to find my own answers. I bravely eat my homemade meals at work surrounded by fast food junkies, who are slowly being inspired by my dedication to eating healthy and avoiding the "celebration" foods that are everywhere at work. I vote with my dollars and support our local food coop, and businesses. I am amazed when I happen to go into a mainstream grocery how little healthy foods exist in the aisles, and how much is processed, containing ingredients that are amazingly toxic. I marvel that people would choose to put such substances into their mouths mindlessly, and then wonder as to why they experience ill health. My birth family ate many processed foods, so I know the addiction to such foods and the culture that goes with it. It was a gradual awakening to a new way of being, that feels so good, so alive. My husband and I are approaching Medicare age and need to make decisions about our health care future that is putting a strain on our health revolution views. Where is the option to support alternative ways of healthcare that we have become accustomed to? It seems like a gamble to forge ahead with choosing health and let the chips fall when it comes to our health future as we age. I am reminded of the story of Helen and Scott Nearing who were health revolutionaries for a very long time, and how they chose to not buy into the health care industry for any of their health care as they aged. Scott lived into his 90's vital and alive, a model to us all. When he started to fade in vigor, he chose to stop eating, as animals do, and to chose the way he died. (Loving and Leaving the Good Life) To me, this needs to be added to the Health Revolution: to chose health and living over the healthcare industry and nursing homes.

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Teresa

I vote yes!

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Melissa Gibbons

Great advice, Aviva. As a naturopathic medical and midwifery student, I receive a lot more education on prevention of chronic diseases through lifestyle and nutrition than conventional medical students as well as much more knowledge about alternative treatment options to pharmaceuticals. NDs are great at primary care and do a lot toward keeping people healthy and safe.

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