By Jami Gibson

Earlier this month, I was moved by the many presentations to “do more good” during our local TEDxMacatawa event. One talk in which I was most interested was Dr. David Johnson’s on disease prevention. Dr. Johnson recently left his successful cardiology practice to focus on promoting healthy lifestyle choices through integrative medicine. His belief is that our society is focused on disease treatment and management, when our emphasis should be on disease prevention. But as he points out, that is not where the money is.

If we ourselves haven’t dealt with any chronic disease, I’m sure we all know someone close to us who has struggled with diseases such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. The statistics Dr. Johnson presents regarding the prevalence of these afflictions are mind-boggling. What’s more, is that chronic disease is largely preventable through healthy lifestyle choices such as choosing not to smoke, maintaining a normal weight, exercising regularly, and consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables. How are our behavioral choices affecting our health? If our country spends the most money on healthcare, why do we have some of the worst outcomes?

Intrigued by these questions, Dr. Johnson examined the relationship between our health and our environment, concluding that we are only as healthy as the environment in which we live. In a society where 90% of our nutrition comes from processed food and animal sources, the latter of which is a major factor in chronic disease, we find that an interesting correlation exists. To do more good for ourselves and our environment, Dr. Johnson recommends eating more plant-based foods as a way to prevent disease and create sustainable nutrition.

Watch his talk below!