Sharon Ufberg, DC examines how we can co-exist with nature to allow for a healthy long-term future.

by Sharon Ufberg, DC

A few months ago I wrote a column about the many toxic chemicals that have been unleashed in our environment and the worrisome effect they are having on our children’s health.   Having begun the research, I have continued to read and wonder what can be done to stop the progression of toxins in our food and water.

But there are bigger questions: how do we co-exist with nature in a way that allows for a healthy long-term future?  How may we benefit from our natural resources while creating a sustainable food industry, without depleting the natural balance? How do we rid our world of the toxic chemicals that have now become institutionalized in agribusiness and manufacturing?

There must be solutions that we can all participate in to keep the system moving towards a healthier balance in our environment.  First, we can all commit to educate and inspire others. As advocates for change, we can have an impact; though seemingly small, one person at a time yields an enormous difference.

Taking the time to know about your local food and water sources and advising patients to make careful choices about what to eat each day is an important part of our role as practitioners. We are expected to provide sound nutritional advice. To do that, we must become knowledgeable about where the food and supplements we recommend are produced and make sure those places are reliably safe and healthy environments.

Start promoting cooking only with fresh daily ingredients, harvested close to your home by certified organic growers.  Finding neighborhood restaurant options that offer healthy and environmentally friendly food from known farmers is also a real treat to share with your office staff and patients. A famous quote by bestselling author, Michael Pollen states, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” This is the latest mantra for whole food healthcare advocates.

Investigate local tap water cleanliness ratings and then determine other possible fresh water sources if your tap is not satisfactory.  A good resource is the Environmental Working Group website. This is a valuable place to find many of the facts one needs to make good decisions about products to recommend to others.

Know what your patients are reading. Touted as being the most popular health newsletters, many of your patients may be looking for advice on  Dr. Joseph Mercalo, O.D. funds his own site and provides a wellness newsletter, a large resource of health-related articles and sells a variety of health products. 

Support organizations and industry that promotes the manufacturing and production of Green products and earth friendly nutritional supplements and packaging.

As we begin 2010, revisit ways you may personally improve upon your own daily lifestyle and work habits.  Together, we can jumpstart the process towards a healthier balance in our environment.

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