Why Health Is Not Determined By Our Healthcare System

Episode 127 1h


We can’t expect to create healthy bodies if we aren’t growing healthy food. But our food system is broken and involves many barriers, especially for underserved communities like North American Indigenous people living on reservations. I talk a lot about the overwhelming burden of chronic disease. Unfortunately, tribes relying on government commodities (white sugar, white flour, and white fat) are among some of the most susceptible to those illnesses and we’re now seeing them fare much worse against COVID-19 as a result. For that reason, food sovereignty is an extremely important topic of our time.

Today on The Doctor’s Farmacy, I sit down with Paulette Jordan to talk about her experiences as a proud member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and what kinds of changes are needed in order to reverse the health issues that Indigenous and other populations like these are facing at increasing rates. Growing up, Paulette learned so much from her elders about how to care for the land and understand that what we put in our bodies can act as medicine. But despite traditional roots, she’s seen how powerful our social determinants of health are to create dis-ease. Our socioeconomic status, education, neighborhoods, social support networks, physical environments, and many other factors are extremely influential in determining our health outcomes.

On reservations, the lack of accessibility to health-promoting foods and healthcare is not setting Indigenous people up for success. Paulette and I discuss what positive changes here might look like and how she has been taking action. Paulette and I agree that regenerative agriculture is one of our greatest solutions to overcome these challenges, and how programs like community-supported agriculture and neighborhood gardens serve as foundational pillars towards food sovereignty. I hope you’ll tune in to learn more.


This episode is brought to you by Thrive Market, and AquaTru. The Doctor’s Farmacy podcast works with a select group of sponsors to allow for ongoing production and allow it to be zero-cost to anyone who wishes to listen to and watch the podcast.

Topics Covered

  • How Paulette’s upbringing helped shape her views on food, healthcare, and community sustainability

    (1:23 - 5:23)

  • People first healthcare, food sovereignty, and social determinants of health

    (5:00 - 9:00)

  • Solving food sovereignty issues by relearning how to connect to and grow the food we eat

    (11:07 - 15:07)

  • Social determinants of health

    (15:15 - 19:15)

  • How community keeps us healthy

    (20:55 - 23:37)

  • Fixing the healthcare system through preventative care and reversing chronic disease

    (27:55 - 30:38)

  • Reimagining our agriculture system

    (32:36 - 35:18)

  • The influence our unhealthy food system has had on the concept of cultural foods

    (40:35 - 43:18)

  • How COVID-19 has humbled Paulette

    (51:58 - 54:40)

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Ep. 127 - Why Health Is Not Determined By Our Healthcare System