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A Woman's Home Health Companion


Rita Stec MD


Freethinking Doctor Brings Unique Insights to Managing Women's Health

Some of us can still remember the days when the doctor came to the sick person's house and, moreover, with very few remedies in his bag. Instead he took charge of the sick room: ordained that the patient get fresh air, that sunlight be let in, that fires be lit to dry out the damp bedding, that a certain feeding regimen be followed. In other words, his high priority was to assist the body to mobilize its own powers of self-repair.

Dr Rita Stec is a doctor in this honorable tradition. She firmly eschews the role assigned by much of modern medicine - that of being a pill-dispensing automaton. Pills have their place of course, but only if needed after the patient has adopted a healthy lifestyle.

What is a healthy lifestyle? Dr Stec draws her inspiration from the way of life that our evolutionary history designed for us. In other words, the human species is naturally adapted to a particular lifestyle, and the mismatch with the way we live today is at the root of most of the big diseases (e.g. obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, dementia etc.) as well as many ailments (e.g. PMS, allergies, migraines etc). So the right nourishment, the right amounts of sunshine, the right kind of sleep and the right type of physical activity are all factors in living in a way that our bodies (and minds) recognize. In regard to this subject, Dr Stec generously acknowledges the debt she owes to my own work Deadly Harvest.

So Dr Stec makes a vital point: The only person who truly has her wellness at heart is the patient herself! She has to take prime responsibility for her health; she must take control of her life. It is no good relying on the medical profession or the insurance companies, however altruistic and professional they might be. They are marching to a different drumbeat. They are there to patch up the problem after the damage is done. The patient has it in her power to prevent the damage happening in the first place, or to facilitate recovery from the damage.

This book is a handy, easy-to-read guide to achieve these ends. It is aimed at women and is written in a chatty, non-technical language. Dr Stec makes the important point that women's biology and needs are different to those of men - a distinction that conventional medicine doesn't always recognize. For example a woman's heart attack is often misdiagnosed because doctors often use the yardstick of men's symptoms. In this women's companion, Dr Stec of course deals with conditions that especially afflict women (e.g. breast cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease) or specifically (e.g. PMS, menopause and endometrial cancer). She extends this to useful guidelines on issues such as birth control, HRT and even the quality of life before death.

Dr Stec recognizes that it can be a tough business to change behavior, so she provides useful strategies that appeal to a woman, often citing examples from her own battles. She gives the patient the tools to take charge of her health. There are check lists of symptoms, tests and vital signs. She has whole segments on physical activity for women, how to get health-giving sunshine, and obtain refreshing, restorative sleep.

Dr Stec has a crusading streak too. She highlights how food suppliers, pharmaceutical companies, the media and others manipulate us. She shows us how to be on our guard and not be influenced by misleading and alarmist propaganda. She is outraged by the misinformation and peddling of unhealthy products and practices, some of which actually receive government subsidy! She wants physical activity put back in schools, and subsidies to tobacco growers removed. But she has hope too: she gave classes to third graders and found that they are incredibly receptive to healthy messages and even influence their families to join in.

This handbook is unique and is packed with vital and useable information. Every woman should possess it.