U.S. Ranks 49th in Life Expectancy, First in Health Care Costs

nurse with a patientAmerica ranks 49th in life expectancy worldwide, putting it lower than a dozen other developed nations.

However, researchers determined that obesity, traffic accidents and a high murder rate may not be the main causes -- the U.S. didn't stand out as doing any worse in these areas than any of the other countries studied.

Instead, poor health care may be to blame. Factors such as costly specialized and fragmented care are likely playing a large role in the nation's poor performance.

Commenting on the study in Salon, Glenn Greenwald noted:

"It's easy to say and easy to document, but quite difficult to really internalize, that the United States is in the process of imperial collapse. Every now and then, however, one encounters certain facts which compellingly and viscerally highlight how real that is."

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

"If you still have a job and you can put food on the table, and you still have a warm house to come home to, then you should consider yourself to be very fortunate."

So begins the article in Pakalert Press, which then goes on to list 27 sobering facts that clearly suggest their opening statement is true.

Disturbing Signs that Standard of Living in US is Crumbling

Many experts now believe we're living in a house of cards that could topple at any moment, and the notion of the "American Dream" may turn into a nightmare as people struggle to put increasingly expensive food on the table while competing for jobs with a dirt-cheap overseas' labor force.

According to Pakalert, some 4 million middle-class Americans have recently joined the ranks of the poor, bringing the total number of people living below the federal poverty line to 43.6 million as of 2009. The US has never recorded such widespread poverty in the 51 years that the U.S. Census Bureau has kept such records…

In addition, The Atlantic Wire recently reported that about 17 million American families (about 15 percent) now struggle to pay for food. The number of households in this predicament has TRIPLED since 2006, and a whopping 25 percent of all Americans are now enrolled in some form of government food program.

Additional signs listed by Pakalert that illustrate this steep downward trend in the standard of living include:

Another truly disturbing fact is that, according to a 2009 careerbuilder.com poll, a whopping 61 percent of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck; up from 43 percent just three years ago!

Even more remarkable, a full 30 percent of people with yearly salaries of o$100,000 or more also reported living paycheck to paycheck, up from 21 percent in 2008.

"To cope, Americans have been cutting back on how much they save. Some 21 percent of all respondents said they have reduced their 401(k) contributions or personal savings in the last six months in order to get by, while 23 percent of the $100,000-and-over group said they had done so.

While some Americans have cut back on what they set aside, others have stopped saving all together," CNBC reported in a September 2009 article.

Unfortunately, there are virtually NO signs whatsoever indicating we'll be able to turn this trend around anytime soon.

Rather, there are a number of long-term trends in the US that further exacerbate our current economic problems. To read more about them, please see this eye opening article posted on theeconomiccollapseblog.com.

Are You Still Prioritizing Your Health in this Receding Economy?

As more and more Americans drop into poverty status while food and gas prices are rapidly increasing, the potential for the economy to impact your health becomes a major concern.

Through the years that I've been teaching about natural health principles, most have cited 'lack of funds' as the primary hurdle to improving their diet and lifestyle… And at this point, most people's personal finances are not about to get any better anytime soon.

I believe it is now more important than ever to make your health your first priority, and that means prioritizing nutrient-dense foods and clean water, and making time for physical exercise.

My strong recommendation to you is that you use all the upcoming negative headlines you will read in the media about the economy to simply relax and use it to further motivate you to get yourself and your family healthier.

Good health will be one of your most precious resources in the future and it will be much easier to achieve it now then it will be in the future.

Prioritize a Nutritious Diet and Prevent Waste

One of the greatest misconceptions out there is that processed, pre-packaged foods are less expensive than raw, whole foods. But more often than not this is simply not true.

Cooking from scratch is usually far more cost effective in the long run, particularly if you STOP throwing away the left-over's.

A 2008 report authored by the Stockholm International Water Institute, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Water Management Institute found that half of the food produced worldwide is wasted! In the United States, as much as 30 percent of food, worth over $48 billion, is simply thrown away…

To prevent unnecessary waste:

  • Plan ahead. If you plan your meals in advance, you can buy only what you need at the store.
  • Buy proper portions.
  • Learn to store your food so that it stays fresh.
  • Learn recipes for tasty leftover meals.

The British website Love Food Hate Waste can help you calculate portions, and provides a variety of time- and money-saving tips, recipes, and much more. For tips on proper food storage to prevent premature spoilage, please see this previous article.

Always remember that, aside from the actual sticker price of the food, cooking from scratch using fresh, whole (preferably organic) ingredients will provide you with far superior nutrition, and this is KEY for optimal health.

I also recommend taking the time to determine your nutritional type, and modifying your diet to fit your metabolic, biochemical profile. Adding this step is perhaps the most potent way to truly maximize the health benefits from your food.

We've charged $29 for our nutritional typing test in the past, but now we're able to offer it entirely free of charge! So please, do take advantage of this free offer.

Keep in mind that the money you think you're saving today by stocking up on cheap, denatured, processed foods will end up costing an arm and a leg later on, when your health fails and the medical bills start rolling in…

For 20 helpful tips for eating healthy on a tight budget, take a look at this article from stronglifts.com. It's two years old, but the guidelines presented still hold true.

Make Time for Exercise

A healthful diet and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to creating optimal health. Along with proper diet, exercise will maximize your efforts to:

  1. Improve your brainpower
  2. Lower your blood pressure
  3. Fight off a cold
  4. Manage arthritis
  5. Lower your risk of heart disease
  6. Cure insomnia
  7. Fight depression
  8. Lower your risk of diabetes and reverse pre-diabetes
  9. Build strong bones
  10. Lose weight
  11. Reduce your risk of cancer
  12. Boost your IQ and think better
  13. Relieve chronic knee pain
  14. Increase your energy levels
  15. Slow down your aging process

Fortunately, starting an exercise regimen doesn't have to cost you a single penny.

I've written well over 7,000 articles on various forms of exercise, which you can find both on my dedicated fitness site, and by searching www.Mercola.com. But for a review of the basics, I recommend reading through my general exercise guidelines.

If I were to name one form of exercise as being the most important, however, it would be high-intensity, burst-style exercises like Sprint 8.

You can improvise Sprint 8 into just about any type of exercise, and you really don't require a gym membership or any equipment to do it. But if you do have access to equipment, using an elliptical or recumbent bike work really well.

Guidelines for a Comprehensive Exercise Plan

Sprint 8 is a term I've coined to represent a high-intensity type of exercise during which you raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold (your peak or maximum performance) for 20 to 30 seconds, and then you recover for 90 seconds. You'll want to work your way up to a total of eight repetitions.

These cycles are preceded by a three minute warm up and two minute cool down, so the total time investment is about 20 minutes.

You can find an in-depth review of all the principles of Sprint 8 in this article.

Sprint 8 exercises will not only help you maximize weight loss, it will also dramatically improve muscle tone and strength, athletic speed and performance, and slow the aging process. This is because these types of exercises naturally boost your production of human growth hormone (HGH), also known as "the fitness hormone."

A truly comprehensive exercise regimen would include Sprint 8 exercises, plus the following:

  1. Strength Training: Rounding out your exercise program with a 1-set strength training routine will ensure that you're really optimizing the possible health benefits of a regular exercise program. You need enough repetitions to exhaust your muscles. The weight should be heavy enough that this can be done in fewer than 12 repetitions, yet light enough to do a minimum of four repetitions. It is also important NOT to exercise the same muscle groups every day. They need at least two days of rest to recover, repair and rebuild.
  2. Core Exercises: Your body has 29 core muscles located mostly in your back, abdomen and pelvis. This group of muscles provides the foundation for movement throughout your entire body, and strengthening them can help protect and support your back, make your spine and body less prone to injury and help you gain greater balance and stability.

    Pilates and yoga are great for strengthening your core muscles, as are specific exercises you can learn from a personal trainer. Even if a personal trainer is not in the cards for you right now, please watch these sample videos for examples of healthy exercise routines you can do with very little equipment and in virtually any location.

    Focusing on your breath and mindfulness along with increasing your flexibility is an important element of total fitness.

  3. Stretching: Yoga is the classic exercise here. There are many other approaches but one of my favorites is Active Isolated stretching (AIS) http://www.stretchingusa.com/ developed by Aaron Mattes. It's an amazing way to get flexibility back into your system, and it's completely different from the traditional type of stretching. Another one is Egoscue which is particularly beneficial if you are experiencing any muscle pains.  

Dehydration – An Excellent Way to Preserve Fresh, Nutritious Foods

Dehydration is another excellent tool you can use to store food for the future, instead of stocking up on processed, pre-packaged foods. If dehydrated foods are kept in an airtight container, they will stay fresh for about a year, or longer.

There are a number of books on the market to learn how to dehydrate your own food, and you can also find a lot of information for free online.

Cherie Calbom, also known as "The Juice Lady," shared the following recipe from her book, The Juice Lady's Turbo Diet. To see how it's made, please see this link to her 5-minute video.

Raw Buckwheat Groat Pizza Dough (Crackers)

(This recipe also makes a delicious Italian Buckwheat cracker.)

Serves 16 (2 each).

  • 2 cups sprouted buckwheat groats
  • 1–2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup carrot or any vegetable pulp
  • 3/4 cup soaked flaxseeds (soak at least 1 hour; they'll expand to about 1 1/2 cups, or use ground flaxseeds and extra water)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasonings (or fresh herbs to taste)
  • 1–2 tsp. Celtic sea salt
  • Water as needed (usually 1/2–1 cup)
Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor. Start with buckwheat groats and garlic, followed by the rest of the ingredients.

Coat a dehydrator sheet with a small amount of olive oil and scoop batches of dough (about a heaping tablespoon each) onto dehydrator sheets, and swirl each scoop with a spoon to make rounds. You can make large pizza dough (about 6 inches in diameter), or you can make smaller individual rounds (about 3 inches in diameter). The smaller rounds are easier to serve and eat.

Press out the dough evenly to about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick by patting the top with your fingertips or swirling with a spoon. If it gets too sticky, dip your fingers into some water to which you add a little olive oil. Once crust is pressed out evenly, dehydrate at 105 degrees for about 7 hours.

Flip the crackers and dry another 7–10 hours or until crust is completely dry and crisp. (It should be crunchy for the best-tasting cracker.) To speed the drying process, transfer to the mesh rack. Use a spatula when lifting dough, and be careful when transferring not to break the crackers.

NOTE: If crust is very dry and stored in a cool dry, airtight container, it can be kept fresh for months.

To sprout buckwheat, soak 1 cup raw buckwheat groats overnight; it will expand to about 2 cups. Drain and rinse well. Place on counter in a colander covered with a lightweight dish towel or in a sprouter for one day. Rinse several times while sprouting. (If you don't have time to sprout, you can just use buckwheat that has been soaked overnight and rinsed well.

If you want to make the pizza, add the following:

Nutty Cheese Sauce for Pizza Topping

  • 1 cup macadamia nuts and 1 cup raw pine nuts, soaked, or 2 cups cashews, soaked (cashews are a bit sweeter and usually less expensive)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Celtic sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. peppercorns, ground
  • Water as needed

Soak nuts first for several hours. Blend all ingredients until very creamy, about 3–4 minutes for the creamiest sauce. Add water as needed.

This sauce will keep 3 days in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Yummy Marinara Sauce

  • 1/2 cup dried (or fresh) pineapple, soaked
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. ginger, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. jalapeño, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped and packed, or 2 Tbsp. dried
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked
  • 1/3 cup fresh oregano leaves, de-stemmed and chopped, or 2 Tbsp. dried
  • 1/4 cup Nama Shoyu or 1 1/2 tsp. Celtic sea salt
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor. If the sauce sets in the refrigerator for at least an hour, it will thicken and become more flavorful

To assemble pizza: Arrange Buckwheat Groat Pizza Dough crackers on a plate. Spoon about 2 tsp. of the Yummy Marinara Sauce on the top of each cracker. It should be thick and not run over the edges.

Top with several little dollops of Nutty Cheese Sauce by placing about 1/2 tsp. of cheese sauce in a few places on top of the marinara sauce. If the Nutty Cheese Sauce is too thick, add a little water. It should still be thick and not at all runny.

For a garnish, top pizza with finely chopped scallions, onions, black olives, or leeks.

Final Thoughts

All the signs point toward hyperinflation becoming a reality in the US. Actively pursuing robust health and fitness may be the most positive things you can do for yourself at this point in time.

If events play out as some experts predict, the US economy will face even more challenges and if you are unprepared, your ability to purchase quality food to stay healthy may become even more limited.

That's a compelling reason for also considering taking some proactive safety measures in terms of safeguarding the money you still have.

Many experts believe a reasonable approach would be to have three months of your income in gold and silver coins in your physical possession. Merely holding gold or silver stocks would be ill advised should the worst case scenario become a reality. You do have to act quickly though as prices for food and precious metals alike are rapidly climbing.

$30 silver is right around the corner and gold just passed $1400 and, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, producer costs for essential commodities such as grain, dairy and sugar are rising. Sooner or later those increased costs will be transferred to you, the consumer.

However, if you plan your purchases prudently with a focus on nutrient-dense foods, and implement the lifestyle strategies offered on this site, you can give yourself and your family the best opportunity to get through it with your health intact.