Invest in your health, not just your 401K!

30 Apr

I would assume that most of you out there are married, or been on a big date like prom or something, and you all had to get ready for the big night. In fact, almost every American has been in this situation. You want to impress someone, have a good time, or remember the day forever. So, what if you treated the big event the same way most Americans treat most everyday meals?

Well, you’d show up for the big night in a pretty shady outfit, made of material that barely passes the standard as wearable, put together in the cheapest fashion, designed to make the manufacturer the most profit! Sounds like a winner huh?

Think about it! Have you ever gone shopping for a computer and bought the most basic model, that happens to be three years old? Or looked frantically through the cell phone store for the most LOW tech device possible? How about a car…do you search the net for the most Unsafe cars built? Of course not! But, many purchase their food with three things in mind: cost, ease, and speed.

I certainly understand that cost is very important not just when it comes to food, but to all things. That being said, what I question is people being able to justify spending more on things that they simply want, and not being willing to spend more on what fuels their bodies. When I discuss the Paleo diet with patients, one of the most common things I hear is that it will cost them too much money. There is no question that eating Paleo, or healthier in any fashion is more expensive than unhealthy alternatives. But we are not talking about a big date hear! Will the unlimited text iPhone plan make you any healthier in the long run?

What I hope is that people can start living their lives for the long haul. It’s easy to get stuck in the now, and forget that your actions (or inactions) today may lead to major issues in the future. This is important on two levels.

On the personal level, I ask all my patients to look at their healthcare as an investment plan. If I want to retire on the beach one day, and I start working hard at it at age 60… we all would agree that I’m gonna be working a long time. If on the other hand I see my life and actions today as an investment in my future health, maybe I can reach my goals. If you are 30, what you do today will determine what kind of 40, 50, 70, or even 90 year old you will be. How will your health be, how many medicines will you be on, how often will you be hospitalized, will you be able to live at home, will you be able to walk, read, laugh? These are all questions best answered now, not when it is too late.

On a more national level, people’s dietary choices are costing our country the chance to have the best and most efficient health care system in the world. People call for health care for all, but what is the best way to achieve that? I’m certainly no politician, but I think it is easy to see where this equation is going to lead…

Increased dependence on cheap carbs
+ Increased incidence of High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, High Cholesterol
+ More doctor and hospital visits
+ Stagnant rates of heart attacks and strokes
+ Increasing risk of cancer

(This is an abbreviated list, please feel free to add on as you see fit)

As long as the government continues to subsidize the staples of our diet that are killing people and leading to the unchecked increase of chronic disease, we will get nowhere. Unfortunately, we are all naïve if we think that the government is going to see the light anytime soon. Even at the same time our current First Lady is all over the news pushing for increased exercise for kids and better school lunches, the congress is passing, and her husband is signing a bill declaring pizza a vegetable in public schools! Don’t get me wrong, this is just one example. This is in no way a problem of the left, or of the right, this is a government problem top to bottom. We can’t upset the beef people, or the chicken people, or the orange juice people, or the dairy people, or the soybean people, or the corn people, or the…you get the idea. 25 or so mega-producers of America’s meat and produce win, and we all lose.

So what do we do about all this? I believe you have to start with yourself and your family, then spread the message to as many people as you can. If there are local markets where farmers and ranchers make their living, go there and buy what you can. It will be a little more expensive, but consider it an investment into your retirement fund. Funding to max out your 401K is great, as long as you can survive to spend your money!

Live everyday as a day to improve your health. It’s an investment well worth making!


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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in General Paleo Discussion


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