Thursday, December 1, 2011

Health is Wealth

"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver." - Mahatma Gandhi 

As much as my inner Material Girl relishes the finer things in life, I've realized that in addition to friends and family, my most valuable possession is my health.  I'd love to say that I've come to this conclusion on my own accord, but rather, it was a number of wake-up calls over the past few years that really made me sit up and take notice.

As I look around my circle of friends, family, co-workers, and neighbours, at any given moment, someone is going through some kind of a health challenge. In addition to a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis, my father-in-law has dealt with vascular surgery and crazy side-effects from a little "whoops!" that happened during the procedure. Cameron was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes as well. Like father like I have to wonder if/when Austin will be impacted. Type 2 reached out and whacked my cousin too. My sister-in-law going through multiple cancers scares, tests, and biopsies. Two colleagues both with terminal cancer. The sudden and unexpected death of a friend. 

Even I've had a couple health-crisis episodes myself, but thankfully nothing chronic or untreatable. All of these add up to a far greater appreciation for good health and I have become inspired by the stories of others who have overcome and have made it their personal mission to raise awareness. Lauren Ward Larsen is one such inspirer. If you want to appreciate good health, read her book, Zuzu's Petals. It's a fascinating, shocking, and hilarious read by an amazing woman.  

Someone once said, "This body is the only one you've got. If you don't take care of it, where are you going to live?" Good point. So how do we go about taking care of our health? As a student of healthy living, I'm no expert. But here are some tips I've learned so far:

  • Take an interest in healthy living. Read up on it. Do some research. Watch "Dr. Oz". Do whatever you can to learn a little bit every day to inspire you to move forward on your journey.
  • Stick to the basics. Eat reasonably healthy foods in reasonable-sized portions, organic if you can. Exercise regularly, even if it's just going for a walk a couple times per week. Get your sleep and do everything you can not to get stressed out.
  • Moderation is the key. Radical lifestyle changes usually don't work over the long-term. And you can't enjoy yourself if you are too strict. A little food, a little wine, a little chocolate, none of that ever killed anyone in moderation. 
  • Schedule and go to your medical maintenance appointments like the annual physical and dental check-ups.
  • If you're not motivated to do it for yourself, get healthy for your kids, your friends, your family. Set a good example. Especially where kids are concerned, example is everything.
  • Be kind to yourself. If you don't take care of yourself, really, truly, who else will?
I raise my cup of yogurt (which I eat for my health, not because I actually like the stuff) to you and your pursuit of good health.  If you're healthy, you're wealthy.  Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. Right on, Elaine.

    Big 'yes' on those annual check-ups I used to routinely let slide...

    I'll join you in raising my cup of yoghurt (which I am lucky enough to really like, so eating it is a healthy pleasure)!

    Thanks for this - good thoughts.