February 24, 2007

Overseas Surgery: Same Quality, Less Cost

Here in Texas, stories of folk going across the border for medical care and prescription drugs is very old news. The savings has always been striking, and while there have been occasional horror stories of bad drugs or marred nose jobs, the bad reports have been few and far between.
Now, it appears that the idea of going overseas for medical care is a growing national trend, fueled by rising health care costs and an escalating population that is uninsured. The trend already has a name: "medical tourism."
PlanetHospital.Com is one of the services filling this market niche. Others are WorldMedAssist.com , MedRetreat.Com and MedJourneys.Com.

Not only are your medical needs coordinated to the appropriate surgeon or specialist, the companies also provide comforts like a concierge service, an English-speaking guide, and all act as travel agent. "All you have to do is show up," PlanetHospital assures.

Furthermore, the health care itself is high quality. You can find health care providers overseas that are U.S. board certified, and many facilities that are affiliated with prestigious American institutions. WorldMedAssist provides the Anadolu Medical Center as an example; it is a facility in Istanbul, Turkey, that is affiliated with the elite Johns Hopkins.

The savings are huge. Angioplasty costs $11,000 overseas; it is $36,000 here. The difference: $25,000. Carpal tunnel surgery is $9000 overseas and $22,000 here. Savings: $13,000.00.

For an online listing of medical tourism sites, check out OpenDirectory. For more information, read an University of Delaware article on the topic, as well as the ever-expanding Wikipedia entry.

February 14, 2007

Free Movie - Walmart: the High Cost of Low Pricing

WalMart: the High Cost of Low Pricing can be seen, for free, via Google Video. Just click and watch: it's 1.5 hours long.

This movie is actually a documentary made by Robert Greenwald which has been shown nationwide by various non-profit groups. It's controversial.

Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends taking the time to watch it:

"It might take awhile to watch it, but I can strongly assure that it will be time far better invested than watching most anything on commercial TV.

"While many consider Wal-Mart a bargain, Penn State University researchers estimate some 20,000 American families have dropped below the poverty level due to the astounding growth of Wal-Mart between 1987 and 1998. What's more, in counties where Wal-Mart stores are located, more than 15 percent of families depend on food stamps, compared to the national norm of 8 percent. The true costs of Wal-Mart aren't worth the apparent savings."

Not everyone believes the film is accurate. Here is Brit Hume's take on things: a transcript of his November 2005 Special Report.

What is the truth here? You decide. Cost: money, $0.00; time, 1.5 hours.

February 9, 2007

Book Report 1 - The Great American Detox Diet

You've seen Alex Jamieson if you've watched SuperSizeMe - she appears throughout the documentary, providing her eyewitness account of boyfriend Morgan Spurlock's declining health as well as her mounting concern for his well-being. Immediately after Spurlock stopped his 30 days of solely McDonald's food, Jamieson took over with an 8-week plan to return Spurlock to health. So many requests came in, asking Jamieson for details, that she wrote The Great American Detox Diet.

It's a good read, easy to follow, and filled with information encompassing much more than a food plan. Details about the FDA, various food industries, and the like are included -- important things to know.

As for the basic detox, it's pretty straightforward: no sugar, no refined carbs, no caffiene, no alcohol, no dairy, no meat. Lots of water, whole grains, berries, beans, nuts and seeds. Since Spurlock's liver was impacted, she included herbs and greens that help the liver (escarole, broccoli rabe, etc.).

Jamieson gives you the ability to personalize your plan: kidneys a concern? She tells you what to eat, and what to avoid, for maximizing your kidneys' health. Stressing out? She gives suggestions on how to solve that problem.

The book itself sets up an 8-week plan to detox, and provides lots of recipes as well as a week of sample menus. Pantry help is given, too.

I liked the book. I also recognize the overlap in advice with that given in The Maker's Diet, among others. That's okay with me. Living food, lots of water, exercise, and breathing right: these are all things that go hand in hand with simplifying life and living in an abundant way.

Personally, the more that I adopt these principles, the better. I feel better, and I'm happier. It still amazes me how the food I eat impacts my attitude, but it does. Lots of processed food, I'm tired, depressed, blah at best. Lots of living food, I'm energetic, excited, and having fun.

Just like Morgan Spurlock describes in the movie, and Jamieson discusses in her book. It's worth your time to read the Great American Detox Diet.
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