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May 24, 2019 - Guest: Dr. James Kwako

Topics: Universal Health Care, Prescribing Money, 6 Habits for Longevity

Show Details

On this episode of Solutions News, our topics are all about health and well-being: our guest is Dr. James Kwako (KWA-KHO), a family physician with a holistic approach and a remarkable new book, Mobilizing Your Healing Power. We also discuss why Universal Healthcare is a solution whose time has come; how sometimes the best medical prescription is simply more money, and after some great didyaknows, we’ll end the show with some habits we can all adopt that improve health, wellness and longevity

Universal Health Care

The first story this week is about solutions to the current healthcare crisis in the United States. Premiums have been skyrocketing and the price of drugs is many times what it is in other countries, leading to “medical tourism”. The most rational solution to the current situation is some form of universal healthcare. The United States is unique among developed nations in the world because it does not have a comprehensive health care system that helps all of its citizens deal with health care needs. Between 1990 and 2016, the United States health care system has dropped from a 6th place rank to 27th in the world – and it’s still dropping. Several current presidential candidates are proposing a “Medicare for All” type of solution. Critics of these plans point to the political and purported economic challenges to get from the hodge-podge system that the United States has now to some idealistic universal coverage without massive costs and massive disruptions. Rinaldo argues that the transition to a more comprehensive solution for every American, would actually be relatively simple if we’d just put out minds to it, and it would definitely lead to better overall health and much less expensive care as well. Most importantly, it will streamline a complicated system and save money over time.

“Find two bucks and call me in the morning”

The second story this week is about a unique approach to treating illness by actually helping the patients find more financial assistance. Dr. Gary Bloch started the process about ten years ago in Toronto, Canada, working to help treat illness by solving the underlying causes and stresses that exacerbate illness. Especially for low income patients, taking simple steps to help them sign up for social programs they qualify for, but are usually unaware of. In the past year, Dr. Bloch has helped an average of 30 patients a week earn up to $1,700 a year. Other programs are sprouting up across Canada and even some in the United Kingdom, demonstrating that a holistic approach to medicine solves more than the just illness on the surface by focusing on root causes as well as the presenting medical symptoms

Lifestyle choices that affect health outcomes

This week, the Optimist Daily ran an article about how letting go of anger is linked to longevity, health and overall wellness as people age. For our last story tonight, and as a salute to our guest, holistic healer Dr. Jim Kwako, here’s six lifestyle habits that have been shown to help you live longer and better:

  • Pay attention to contentment and positivity! Having a positive outlook is linked to health, to better recovery, and to living longer. For example:

  1. Learning to deal with anger effectively raises health outcomes, reduces mortality
  2. Creating a gratitude practice that gets you in touch with the positive everyday & leads to more happiness and higher health reports
  3. Being generous also increases a person’s report of good mood, and good moods are linked to better health and longer life. 

  • Practicing stress reduction methods -- including meditation, exercise, laughter, & being in nature - whatever gets your blood flowing, your mind calm, your belly relaxed - keeps you mentally sharp, physically sound and emotionally balanced throughout the lifespan - and helps you live longer.
  • Don’t smoke cigarettes - or anything with nicotine. 
  • As Michael Pollan says: Eat food, not too much, mostly vegetables. Eating naturally produced, minimally processed foods is linked to longevity in cultures around the world, especially in places that emphasize vegetables, low-calorie proteins and whole grains - Nuts and legumes are also great. And really - don’t eat too much. Lowering caloric intake has been linked to longer lifespans in everything from fruit-flies to humans. Also maintaining a healthy body-shape is linked to longer life.
  • Establishing healthy sleep habits, and getting good sound shut-eye is linked to living longer and better.
  • Cultivating & enhancing a good social network: Learning how to communicate with the people around you - most importantly family members and other loved ones - in non-defensive, open-hearted, non-dramatic, conflict resolving ways - to is a great way to preserve positive relationships throughout the lifespan, and having close friends is linked to living longer.


The two most important takeaways are moderation and mindfulness. In the chaos of everyday life, focusing on all of these aspects can be challenging, if not impossible. The solution is to focus on taking small steps to make these responsible practices habit over time. And while it might be tough to do for all of these steps, moderation is a safe bet to stay healthy.

2017, Associated Press, Health Care advocates protest for Universal Care
2017, Associated Press, Health Care advocates protest for Universal Care

James Kwako, MD

Dr. Kwako is a Family Physician in private practice in Santa Barbara for almost 30 years. He provides basic medical services and also emphasizes healthy lifestyle living which includes nutritional medicine, exercise guidelines, stress management and integrative medical approaches.

Dr. Kwako is an Instructor for the School of Extended Learning, an adult education program sponsored by Santa Barbara Community College. In these classes he teaches a wide range of topics that address fatigue, pain, hypertension, insomnia, dreams, meditation and other medical and psychospiritual topics.

Dr. Kwako has been medical director at the Pain and Health Rehabilitation Center and Meadowlark Retreat Center. He has served on the Board of the American Holistic Medical Association and Unity Church of Santa Barbara. He is an ordained minister and author of Mobilizing Your Healing Power. His web site is

Dr. James Kwako, our guest on May 24, 2019
Dr. James Kwako, our guest on May 24, 2019