On day 272 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I connected some dots after reading the book Farmacology (Amazon Associate Link) by Daphne Miller.
I began reading the book to fulfill some of my continuing education requirements as a registered dietitian nutritionist. In that regard, it was an act of self-care that supported the aptitudinal dimension of my health. But as I read on, Miller’s insights mirrored many of my own – some that I have carried for many years.
I have long believed that nature is our greatest teacher when it comes to health and wellness, and after completing a permaculture design course last year, that belief only grew stronger.
One idea of Miller’s was of particular interest to me: “…we are not simply nourished by the soil, we are the soil.” I found it interesting because we often view ourselves as existing outside of nature – fighting against it in many cases. But the truth is, we are deeply connected to it. We are nature, no matter how much we try to deny it.
And it turns out that agriculture has a lot in common with our health care system too. The term “factory medicine” has been used to describe the similarities between Big-Ag and Big-Med. Rather than treating individuals as whole systems, we create protocols and best practices, and then apply them broadly. Likewise, many people use supplements the way Big-Ag uses fertilizers – to correct insufficiencies on a short-term basis, without correcting the underlying imbalance (often, a poor diet).
But human beings are not closed systems. And neither is nature.
Our reductionist view of health has led us to treat single symptoms, ignoring the fact that our bodies are part of a much larger, more complex ecosystem. The author shares my belief that “…pretty much every large, well-designed, randomized study has shown that supplements do little to improve health or prevent disease – and in some instances, may make things worse.”
As we move toward the idea that self-care is a powerful preventive health care strategy, used to reduce health care costs and improve quality of life, we have a significant opportunity in front of us.