The topic of the day is health care reform and the Congress is trying to make the president’s wish a reality. Some ask if it can be done in the short time he’s set forth, some wonder if it can be done at all and still others don’t believe an entire overhaul is necessary.

Our health care system is now too expensive for many thus roughly 20 million voluntarily opt out. Healthy young adults, entrepreneurs who want their monies allocated toward their business projects until they start seeing their ROIs, and career people in between jobs will all put their health care aside purposely for a time.

During these opt-out times this group may visit their local health food store and stock up on supplements, teas and tinctures and be willing to bear these costs out of pocket as a preventive and wellness measure. Many will even choose to keep this habit after they find the benefits outweigh the initial cost shock.

Let’s ask some questions and hopefully answer honestly.

Will natural health be addressed in health care reform? What if our health insurance allocated X dollars a year toward the purchase of natural supplements such as arnica cream for sore muscles, various tinctures like white willow bark, a natural analgesic from which aspirin was derived, or herbs like Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) for allergies which has been found to block both histamine and leukotrienes and relieves nasal allergy symptoms without walking around like a zombie?

Would this give the individual more control over their health? Would the insurance companies do it even though the pharmaceutical industry can’t make money on natural products? If the people want this piece added to in their insurance and are willing to pay for it, shouldn’t it be offered? It’s now a consumer driven world; the customer decides what they want and market needs to keep up.

If employees can set aside tax free dollars for medical expenses, why can’t these monies be put toward the purchase of natural supplements or naturopathic doctor visits if that’s the route one wishes to take? If our society was encouraged to take more control over our own health, wouldn’t it lower health care costs in general?

If the insurance companies can choose not to pay for certain life saving procedures, shouldn’t they then pay for alternative solutions if sought by the patient? Since we are paying them a monthly premium, shouldn’t we be assisted in finding the solutions we need regardless of where those solutions are found? Shouldn’t all choices be on the table at all times?

The insured in this great country of ours have been conditioned to the following habit: We become ill, we see an allopathic doctor, get some pills, consume them over a period of 10 days or so and get well most of the time.

How are we being treated? With synthetic medications that are designed to ease or eliminate symptoms and do not address the cause of the illness. This kind of treatment surely guarantees return business when the cause is not sought and cured. Add to this, the long list of side effects that accompany some synthetic drugs with many producing symptoms warranting the use of yet another synthetic drug.

There is obviously a place for traditional medicine when necessary, but it’s not the way some choose to go when they have the occasional sniffle or ache and pain. These are the people who won’t ask their doctor about a drug they’ve seen on TV, because they don’t wish to slide down that slippery slope.

Next target – food. What are we eating that is contributing to our poor health? Has anyone looked at the relationship of our altered state food consumption to our obesity and illness rates?

With the fillers in our food today, and the way they “ripen” our fruits and veggies with gases instead of naturally on the vine as intended, are we lucky if we even get a small percentage of nutrition? Many believe the result here is illness and dis – ease.

So, when will our food be addressed? Natural health is all about eating and living naturally with locally grown, organic choices being the best whenever possible. Yes, they cost more, and it takes an extra trip at times to find these goodies, but if it’s health we’re seeking, it’s worth the trip when we can do it.

It’s all about making the decision to develop new habits. A few trips to the local organic grocer will show its benefits right away in the better tasting and better for you fruits and veggies. The meats from grass fed animals and healthier eggs contain no chemicals. When we’re getting more nourishment from the food we eat, can we expect to eat less?

To defer cost and take more control over what you eat, a home garden is a great choice if you have some time to invest and if not, a single container growing your fruit or veggie of choice is the answer. Keeping it pesticide free can ensure its optimal taste and nutrition level, as well as keep you in good conscious knowing that you’re not adding these toxic chemicals to the ground water supplies.

Of course, during summers like the one we’re having this year in the Northeast, it’s great if you happen to own a greenhouse. A small south facing structure can easily be constructed from simple materials and provide you with a bounty, regardless of the rain.

If we were building up our immune systems by regularly drinking nourishing teas and herbal infusions, can we assume that our health would generally improve? It certainly can’t hurt, after all, teas and herbs were meant for the service of man and the more we learn about them, the more we concede to their intricate work throughout the body and all of its systems in ways we are still studying.

Can we eliminate some of our physical ailments by reducing our excess weight? What if we all took up walking for 20 minutes three times a week and drinking a cup of tea a day? Simplistic? Perhaps, but it’s a start toward taking control over our health and body as well as choosing to live on purpose.

The best natural health is a lifelong journey that begins with the development of a new habit, and all that takes is the first step, and then another, followed by another…