Save money, time on health care costs

The top priority: eat a healthy diet

  • Avoid any foods that list high-fructose corn syrup (or any other sugar) as one of its first three listed ingredients-unless it is a dessert.

  • Choose foods containing three or more grams of fiber per 100 calories. (For example, whole tomatoes have more fiber than peeled tomatoes, which have more than tomato juice.)

  • Never eat any foods containing trans fats (the unsaturated fats often found in fast food, snack food, and fried food)
Ways to save on Health Care Costs
  • Stay healthy and save money by making sure everyone in your family is being proactive:

  • Eat a healthy diet-in addition the guidelines above, eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, and if affordable, organic food; and reduce consumption of meat.

  • Exercise every day for one hour-at all ages, whenever possible.

  • Reduce stress levels by simplifying your life-including yoga, meditation, and prayer.

  • Get adequate sleep-seven to eight hours every night, and more for children.

  • Maintain a healthy weight-an imperative throughout life!

  • Discover a meaningful purpose for your life-and live it!

  • Practical approaches that will save you both money and time

  • For routine health issues and for primary care, consider seeing an integrative physician, or a naturopath, chiropractor, or Chinese medicine practitioner.

  • If illness strikes, engage first in safe, less invasive, more natural treatment approaches that do not depend on expensive pharmaceutical drugs or surgeries that can cause serious side effects.

  • Reserve seeing your MD physician for acute issues that come up when these simpler, safer, and commonsense approaches fail.

  • Reframe your relationship with health care

  • Remember, each of us has the primary responsibility for our own health. Teach responsible self-care to your children and your entire family.

  • Search for health-care practitioners who are willing to work as a team with CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) practitioners as well as mainstream practitioners.

  • Don't give away your authority when making important treatment decisions. Always stay in the loop with your caregivers; do your own research and remain your own authority.

  • Get a second opinion when you have doubts about your diagnosis or treatment.
How to be a better patient
  • Partner with your health-care practitioner and family members in making important decisions about treatment.

  • Learn about the central role of your emotions and your thinking in illness and health.

  • Learn from your illness; find out why you became ill and what you can do to prevent a recurrence. Illness is essential feedback for learning about who you are, for deepening your wisdom about life, and for creating a healthier lifestyle in the future.
About Dr. Len Saputo:

Len Saputo, MD is a graduate of Duke University Medical School and is board certified in Internal Medicine. He was in private practice in affiliation with John Muir Medical Center in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 30 years.

Today he is the director of Health Medicine Clinic in Walnut Creek. His approach to healing is based on "Health Medicine"-an integrative, holistic, person-centered, and preventive model.

Over the past 15 years, Dr. Saputo has guided the development of Health Medicine. In order to accomplish this mission, in 1994 he founded the Health Medicine Forum.

"The Forum" is a non-profit educational foundation that has sponsored more than 350 public and professional events, including monthly presentations, workshops, and conferences.

In 2001 Dr. Saputo co-founded the Health Medicine Center, an integrative medicine center that is bringing the model of Health Medicine into clinical practice. Further information on Health Medicine, the Forum, and the Health Medicine Center are available on the Internet at www.alternativehealth.com

Active in public and professional education, Dr. Saputo has produced and hosted the Prescriptions for Health Show on KEST radio every weekday morning with his wife Vicki since 1994.

He and Vicki also host two weekly programs for Comcast Cable, Pioneers in Health and What's New in Medicine for Comcast, which have been on the air in Contra Costa County since 2007. Saputo is Vice President of the National Orthomolecular Health Medicine Society and on the Board of Directors for the Wellness City Challenge.

In this position, he convened a subcommittee of 25 specialists to created guidelines for healthy eating that were realistic and doable. As of February 2009, this program has been endorsed by all 19 city councils in Contra Costa County, including Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, and Martinez, and by state senator Mark DeSaulnier and congressional representative Ellen Tauscher.

Other professional associations have included being an Alternative Medicine Consultant to Alta Bates Hospital, a member of the Editorial Review Board of Natural Medicine Journal and on the Advisory Board of California Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

Saputo has made more than 70 presentations to hospitals, medical schools, universities, and community organizations. Dr. Saputo has edited six books, contributed dozens of articles and chapters on topics in complementary and alternative medicine, is the co-author of Boosting Immunity: Creating Wellness Naturally (New World Library, 2002); and has just published the highly acclaimed A Return to Healing: Radical Health Care Reform and the Future of Medicine (Origin Press, September 2009).

Dr. Saputo has appeared on numerous television programs such as Medical News for CNN, where he was a monthly guest and has done interviews on hundreds of radio programs nationally.

A strong advocate of fitness all of his life, Saputo works hard and plays hard. In 1995 and 2001 he won the World Senior Men's Singles Tennis Championships and was formerly ranked number one in the world by the International Tennis Federation.

Born in Oak Park, Illinois, Saputo and his family moved to northern California when he was a year old. He graduated from UC Berkeley, was in the Air Force and after graduating Duke University, he returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and resides in Orinda with his wife.

>> Buy this book on Amazon: A Return to Healing: Radical Health Care Reform and the Future of Medicine

About health care reform:

The current health-care reform effort in Washington is extremely complicated and, unfortunately, largely irrelevant to the average family. Whatever reform is decided upon will do very little to directly improve your health and well-being. However, several mild insurance-reform measures, such as permitting people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage, and offering subsidies for low-income people to get insurance, will certainly help some families financially.

Aside from those changes, the government's attempt to reduce health care costs is unlikely to succeed; Dr. Saputo therefore advises all families to plan on their health care costs continuing to rise at the current rate. That's why it is more critical than ever for Americans to take more responsibility for their own health by practicing prevention, and well as what I call lifestyle medicine. Here are a few tips that will help every household in America stay healthy, affordably.

For more information about Dr. Saputo, visit www.areturntohealing.com

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