While cruising my Facebook news feed today, I came across an article entitled Obama Administration Announces New Decision On Birth Control, To Chagrin Of Religious Groups. For the most part, my assumptions about what I’d find in the article were correct, however, what I didn’t expect was the gut reaction the article invoked for me. It just made me sad.
Of course, as a conservative Catholic, I have religious objections to the use of birth control. But those objections had absolutely nothing to do with my reaction, surprisingly enough. My overwhelming feeling of sadness came about because I know that there are millions of women out there taking birth control for medical reasons that have little if anything to do with contraception, and they don’t understand how far-reaching the effects of that choice can be.
Sure, women are told not to smoke. Women are told about the increased risk of blood clots and cancer. Women are not told, however, about the damage these pills do to the endocrine system, the immune system, and our overall well-being. What’s worse, millions of women taking birth control think the risks are worth it because of the perceived benefit to their health that these hormone bombs are supposed to provide.
Even more disheartening to me is the fact that thousands upon thousands of women could be, for all intents and purposes, “cured” of the medical conditions for which they’re taking these pills if they’d simply make dietary changes that would positively impact so many facets of their lives.
Now, for those who might say that I don’t understand because I haven’t “been there”, I can say, without getting too personal, that I have dealt with medical issues for which birth control pills are often prescribed. While the pills seemed to help my “issues” when I took them, they caused a whole new set of issues for which I was not prepared. Had I known that I was risking my health in more ways than the standard song and dance that one finds on the package insert, and had I been more grounded in my faith at the time, I never would have taken the darned things.
No, I don’t have some birth control horror story to share. I was lucky. I’ve met plenty of folks (in real life and online) who weren’t so lucky though. And to be honest, not all of these ladies actually realize what’s happening to them. It makes me so sad.
Most Americans want to be healthy. They don’t want to hurt; they don’t want to be miserable. The problem is, Americans are also impatient. Most of us tend to expect instant gratification, so if we have some sort of problem, we’re much more likely to take the quick “fix” even if it’s not really a fix at all. For instance, a guy might take some pain reliever for his splitting headache rather than go to the ER to allow a doctor to fix his gaping head wound that’s causing the pain. (OK, I’m being ridiculous here, but I think I’m illustrating my point. People often want to treat the symptoms as opposed to the causes when it comes to the various maladies that plague us.)
I can’t stand to see people suffer. I can’t stand to see people, especially those I care about, doing things that make them sicker rather than better. I know that in the end, we have to decide for ourselves when we’ve had enough, but by the same token, I wish someone would have shared life-changing information with me (like Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution) years ago. When we’re ignorant about our options, we can have a hard time effectively helping ourselves, and although some folks are just wired to walk the hard road, I hate to see it happen.
It’s hard not to evangelize, but there are certain topics that trigger that need within me. When I see people suffering needlessly, even if they don’t even realize they’re suffering, it compels me to want to help. I just can’t help it sometimes. Like I said earlier, I wish someone would have done that for me. The fact that some folks are unable or unwilling to open their minds to the fact that an aspirin isn’t going to help nearly as much as treating the brain tumor makes it tough for me. And while I have to learn to disconnect from that kind of attitude, I’m still deeply troubled by it.
I am absolutely convinced that almost all the modern diseases from which we suffer are rooted in our diet. The computer scientist in some of you might appreciate “garbage in, garbage out”. The problem is, we all have a very different view about what constitutes “garbage”. To me, “garbage” means foods that are manipulated at the genetic level by viruses. “Garbage” means fats that you can’t get from nature by walking up to the food and squeezing it. “Garbage” means foods that, by virtue of their built-in protective mechanisms were never meant for consumption by mammals. And the list goes on.
If we can quit poisoning our bodies with garbage, if we can make a choice to take the harder road which gets us much further down the line when it comes to our health, then that’s when we stop needing all the drug companies and their miracle cures. Of course, there’s no money in telling someone, “Eat nutrient-dense, REAL food that isn’t poisonous or pro-inflammatory,”, doesn’t sell any drugs.
I know my views make me seem conspiratorial, but honestly, who wants to help people get better when getting them better loses you money? Compassion, in wanting what’s best for our fellow man, just doesn’t make much money!
While this topic is pretty disheartening to me, I’ll never lose hope. I’ll never become jaded. I’ll always remember that what I do matters.