01/06/2012 07:28 pm ET Updated Mar 07, 2012

Freedom, Choice and Consequences in Health Care

Freedom is beloved in our country. The Declaration of Independence recognized that each of us has inalienable rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." And our founding fathers took that heartfelt belief and created our constitution, so we could live free, and in so doing improve the lot of our individual citizenry. They believed that talented, honest people could use freedom and hard work to build a civilization which could endure and prosper.

They did their work. They dreamed dreams, they shared visions, they organized and finally took steps necessary for the birth of our country. Because of their efforts we enjoy freedom from tyranny, freedom to select our leaders, freedom to speak publicly, freedom to work and own possessions, freedom to worship as we choose, and to organize into groups as we see fit.

Notice that we have more freedoms "to" than freedoms "from." Our founders believed in the blessings of individuals and their ability to choose, act and receive the fruits of their choices and actions. They knew that freedom without ethical decision and action could not survive, and so designed our government as a three branched system of checks and balances so that no single person could easily usurp power and damage the freedom of our citizens.

Our personal health has much to do with freedom and how we use our freedom in living our lives. To have life, liberty and pursue happiness we need to use our freedom to act effectively and so help us to create health and free us from disease.

As a veterinarian I know that healthier, better-educated clients take better care of their animals, so anything that improves our awareness and ability to improve health in one sphere eventually improves multiple spheres of influence. Truth works and free people spread the truth to help others.

As we approach New Year's resolutions, let's consider the following and how we can act for better health:

  • Resolve to eat food, actual food, not processed and sugar or chemically infused junk. Eating more green leafy veggies can help to decrease inflammation and cancer and prolongs healthy life span. By doing a green shake daily, you could help to reduce your chances of developing diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and cancer.
  • Spend some time each day moving. Exercise is needed to keep our bodies well. Walking, bike riding, running or swimming are great ways to do this. Moving with a purpose to help others seems to be even better for everyone, so find a purpose and move forward on that and we all win.
  • Support local, sustainable, organic farming. Make choices that reward healthy farming practices.
  • Act to support free access to foods including medical foods such as vitamins, whole food concentrates, herbs and homeopathics.
  • Identify your personal talents and devise ways you can apply those talents to help others. Begin to do this and align with those who believe in your dream. This is the core of being free and of sustainable economics (and civilization).
  • Seek, gain and share knowledge that helps others to awaken and improve their lives. Freedom depends upon having an alert and active citizenry. Science works better in that environment.
  • Find health care professionals who excel at their jobs. Help them create health by listening and understanding your role.
  • Support charities and provide funding for research in alternative, complementary and integrative medicine. Much of the research funding working in medical research is aimed at generating patentable products that can be sold at a profit. We need to create active and substantial funding for scientific research that benefits our citizens regardless of how the outcomes affect corporate profits. And we need to strive for improved ethical standards in medical research.
  • Practice forgiveness and gratitude. Be happy for what you have and use it for good. That simple step changes your entire outlook.

We can do these actions as individuals, as families or groups and increase the effects of our choices. We can do these things for ourselves and our animal charges and when we do that everyone wins. If each of us would seek, learn, decide, act, test, and honestly share our experiences we could generate an unprecedented health care evolution, and the consequences of such activity are incredible. As citizens we have much we can contribute.

And it is all a matter of choice and action.

Happy New Year!

For more by Dr. Richard Palmquist, click here.

For more on personal health, click here.