Ebola or Heart Disease: What’s Really Killing Americans?


I’ve been meaning to share this episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, even though I’m sure most of you have already seen it. I’ve got terrible timing, as I know that Thomas Eric Duncan died of Ebola in the US recently. I don’t mean to trivialize his death at all (and I really mean that), but I don’t want us to lose perspective here. The fact remains that heart disease is the #1 killer in America. While everyone is freaking out about Ebola, terrorists, and all the other stuff that’s blown out of proportion thanks to the media circus that we’re cursed with, please stop and think about the choices that you are making.

In the US, we have strayed so far from eating whole, unprocessed foods that most people are utterly confused about what to eat. And yet, as soon as we talk about making healthier food choices, there’s an uproar of, “don’t tell me what to eat!” If we’re talking about saving the lives of thousands and thousands of Americans, then we need to talk about heart disease. And we need to share information about eating healthier foods, reducing stress, exercising, being connected, having a purpose, and actively doing things to stay healthy. This isn’t a matter of opinion. While everyone is terrified of getting Ebola, more and more people will continue to die because of heart disease, which is largely preventable. The CDC reports that in the US, approximately 600,000 people die of heart disease each year – that’s about 1 in every 4 deaths! While it may seem like there’s nothing that we can do about this, there’s actually plenty that we can do to greatly reduce these alarming numbers.

For starters, please make smarter decisions. Arm yourself with information. Don’t be afraid to order a salad instead of fries. Try going meatless at least once a week. Eat your greens. Reduce your intake of dairy, sugar, chemicals, junk “food”, meat, genetically modified foods, and alcohol. If you’re smoking, work on quitting (ask for help if you need it). Go for a walk. Work your way to a jog or a run. Try a new exercise class. Go with a friend to a yoga class. Get some fresh air. Make a smoothie. Get a good night’s sleep every night. Fill your house with plants that will make the air that you breathe cleaner. Stock your refrigerator with vegetables and fruits and fill your pantry with whole grains and legumes. Laugh. Love. Hug someone you care about. Start a gratitude journal and write in it every day – acknowledge the things that you are grateful for and watch the blessings in your life increase. Find a spiritual practice that feeds your spirit. Be yourself. Be kind. Show others compassion. Spend time outdoors, immersed in nature. Walk barefoot on the grass/sand/ground. Stay connected with people who lift you up and care about you. We can work to reduce the number of deaths in this country if we are honest about what’s actually killing our citizens.

Sign a petition to place stricter guidelines for obtaining a gun. Fight for people to have access to mental health professionals so that people who are depressed, suicidal, and anxious can get the help that they need and so that we can see a decline (and hopefully an elimination) in shooting rampages that claim the lives of innocent people and leave their families, friends, and communities absolutely devastated. Please join me in making the Earth that we share happier, healthier, and safer.

I have to agree with Jon Stewart when he says, “All we keep hearing is ‘we must do whatever it takes to save American lives’ — unless it’s stopping the things that are actually killing Americans.” Quiet the media fear mongering. Take care of yourself. Protect your heart. Reach out for help if you need it. Help reduce violence in your community by pushing for gun control. Together we can make positive changes and help people every day.

Enjoy this episode of the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – all thanks to Hulu :).


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