What we call health care today isn’t health care. Health insurance isn’t really about ensuring we stay healthy.
Instead, health care should be called sick care, just like health insurance should be referred to as sick insurance. That would be a more accurate way to describe it.
I discover this every time I go to the doctor.
I choose naturopathic doctors who aren’t afraid of alternative solutions. I believe functional medicine is always a better choice. I visit biological dentists who offer a different approach to tooth care.
And in almost every case, my health insurance doesn’t cover them. (Many don’t even accept today’s health insurance – they have their own plans.)
Yes, I’ve raged about this more than once to my husband. “Why are we paying for health insurance when I never use it anyway? I’m not sure I would ever trust traditional care – only in emergencies. Why do I pay?”
Right now in America, the average monthly premium for a 40-year-old is $477 a month, or roughly $6,000 a year. As a 50-something, my payments were considerably higher – $600 per month per person as of last year. Deductibles are also sky-high – with an $8,500 deductible on top of a $600 premium, it would be a true emergency before I ever had insurance “pay.” (Luckily, my husband’s business picked up part of the premium this year, so my costs have gone down.)
I say all this to set the stage showing something is wrong. VERY wrong.
In Clayton M. Christensen’s book Innovator’s Prescription, he states:
“There are more than 9,000 billing codes for individual procedures and units of care. But there is not a single billing code for patient adherence or improvement, or for helping patients stay well.”
Shocking. (But not really.)
What is healthy aging?
Having someone you care deeply about does something to your approach to life. When my dad died at 54, I went looking for answers.
At every turn, I found a-ha moments that made me radically change my approach.
- I eliminated red meat when I discovered the World Health Organization lists red meat as a group 2a carcinogen.
- I became vegetarian, moved to vegan, and currently consider myself to be a whole-food, plant-based eater when I found out heart disease is both treatable and preventable.
I was reading a story the other day about a woman who suffered a heart attack. Her family quickly jumped in to help her, stating, “she needed to start eating better.”
This is common in Western societies. We wait until there’s a problem, then try and find the solution. The entire system was built around reactionary advice rather than approaching life through wellness.
Wouldn’t it be easier to avoid the problem in the first place?
Eating healthier means avoiding red meat so it won’t give you cancer. Eliminating fried foods so they won’t clog your arteries. And saying goodbye to processed foods so they won’t leave you with chronic conditions.
Instead, you take a proactive approach, learning what keeps you healthy, monitoring your numbers, and making subtle changes along the way.
All of that has led me to create my own internal pillars of wellness.
I believe the future of aging and wellness is gorgeous! I believe to be proactive means you take control of everything you do right now:
- How you act
- How you live
- Critical thinking
- Learn to use “yes” and “no” so it benefits you and your family
There is no such thing as perfect health. We all have our ups and downs throughout life.
But what you CAN do is take control over your life and give yourself every advantage to aging well.
This is what I do – this is my advice.
Healthy Aging Pillar #1: Walk
Walking is one of the most healthy activities you can do. And you can do it easily just by changing your lifestyle.
Let’s talk about the 10,000 steps rule. It surfaced several years ago with the advancement of wearable technology. I jumped on the craze (and bounced back off, but that’s for another post.)
I don’t know if 10,000 steps is accurate; there are a lot of arguments about it online, but what I do know is that if I push myself to get 10,000 steps each day, I feel better.
So I walk each morning after writing for a couple of hours. The fresh air and sunshine liven me up and raise my spirits. It also helps if I’m stuck on my writing – I always come up with great ideas when I talk with friends or just watch nature in all its glory.
A body is meant for activity. And walking is a pillar for making sure you stay active. So why not do it? Set your life up to get it done each day.
Healthy Aging Pillar #2: Strength
For a body to stay strong, you have to push it to increase endurance. I’m not talking about becoming a bodybuilder here, but moving your muscles and getting a full-body strength training workout three times a week does your body good.
You don’t even have to go to the gym. I’ve invested in a few inexpensive items. I have adjustable weights, bands, and the internet. Do a search, and you can find a vast array of credible trainers who will show you how to use strength training as a part of your routine.
Lately, I’ve been working through Kathy Smith’s Fit Over 40, and love the results.
I don’t want to spend hours in the gym. In fact, I prefer to have as much fun as I can outside. So I mix it up whenever I can.
The more you learn, the more you’ll discover what it takes to get a workout in, and feel better if you’re doing something about it. I’m in tune with what it takes to walk 10,000 steps. I know what it feels like to stretch and strengthen. And I’m conscious of doing things whenever I can.
I sometimes get in a few sets of pushups waiting for my water to boil for tea – why not multitask when you can!
Healthy Aging Pillar #3: Nutrition
Knowing I talk about plant-rich food regularly, you knew food would be on this list.
I honestly don’t believe there is one right way to eat. I feel we’re just starting to understand what good nutrition is, and how our current approach is wrong.
In general, the closer you can get to source, the better. If you eat things that consist of one food, it’s healthier than a box created from multiple ingredients. An apple will be better than a cupcake. Broccoli will be better than a can of soup.
It’s also about supplementation. Because of our approach to farming today, the soil is in its unhealthiest state. The vitamins, minerals, and nutritional condition aren’t near what they were decades ago.
That means if you want good nutrition, you’re going to have to take control yourself. Audit what you currently eat, remove the worst, and start filling it with whole foods.
This isn’t an easy process. My 21-Day Kitchen Course is designed to help you give your kitchen and eating patterns a closer look, and make changes that will last.
Healthy Aging Pillar #4: Test
You can eat well, exercise, do everything right, and still have problems.
Studies show that indoor air quality is often some of the worst quality air you can breathe. Considering most of us spend as much as 90 percent of our time indoors, you have to pay attention to how you can improve it.
For me, it starts with plant-based living. When you’re aware of toxins in your water, your food supply, and what you take in each day, you’ll quickly find toxins can be everywhere.
It matters what you wash your clothes in, how you clean your house, what’s in your new decor, and what you glide onto your skin. It matters what fabrics you choose, and how they are produced.
This understanding doesn’t come overnight; many start discovering the real problem through disease. Your body has so many hidden secrets, and it’s hard to understand it all while you’re changing. Unfortunately, you don’t want chronic conditions to begin when you could have reacted earlier.
That’s why I firmly believe in testing to learn more about who you are. I use a naturopath who regularly tests my blog for various things. We do everything from hormonal tests to vitamin D. Mineral and toxin tests can alert you to potential problems.
We’re living in times where average Western medicine won’t want to test you – I’ve had doctors tell me no, it was silly to test for some things.
I found new doctors.
Fortunately, if you look hard enough, you can find people that believe as you do. Keep talking until you find people you can trust.
You can also use online labs and sites that look at health instead of sickness. I’ve used EquiLife and have had good results. You can do the tests yourself with a simple at-home test, and talk with trained medical practitioners about your results. It’s an eye-opening experience.
Once you get to know your body inside and out, you’ll feel better about your results.
Healthy Aging Pillar #5: Self-care
I don’t think nearly enough emphasis is placed on self-care. Too many people think it’s frivolous, only for those who have too much time on their hands.
I’m a wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend, and business owner. I lead a very busy life.
I know that I won’t give those around me my best if I’m not at my best.
If I care for my well-being, I have more to give to those around me.
That’s why I have a fairly disciplined routine I stick to every day.
It includes 8 hours of sleep, meditation, journaling, stretching/yoga, walking, personal writing, and personal reading. I eat good food and take health supplements. I know when I need something, and I’m not afraid to take it.
Healthy Aging Pillar #6: Awareness
I think it started when my dad died at 54 of a massive heart attack. The only question that kept popping up in my mind was: Why?
And the questions have never stopped. That “Why” led me to make changes in the way I eat, the way I live my life, and the questions I ask.
When everyone else zigs, I zag. I’ve long since been a pioneer in creating my own road.
I remember when I first started learning about glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active chemical used in Roundup. It’s the most widely used pesticide on the planet, with more than 280 million pounds of the stuff sprayed on US agricultural lands alone. This amount of spray would be bad enough, but it gets worse. Roundup Ready crops (a patented line of genetically modified crop seeds that are resistant to its glyphosate-based herbicide) were launched in 1996, and now incorporates most of the soy and corn production.
Soy and corn are in most standard Western diet foods. That means most of us consume a lot of glyphosates every day. It’s linked to cancer, infertility, premature birth, sperm count decline, kidney disease, liver disease, neurological disorders – and that’s just to start.
Here’s the thing: When I started asking “Why,” it led me to make a change in my life. It began with banning red meat from my diet.
It led me to other “Why’s.”
My 30-year-old self is nothing like I am today.
Every year as I learn, I make lasting changes.
But it all starts with, “Why?”
I ask “Why” before I visit a doctor – Is this the right doctor for me? Will I take their advice? Will they provide me with answers to my questions? Will they offer me options and solutions?
I ask “Why” before I accept any remedy. Does this make sense? Will it fully heal/cover/protect me? Will it push me to a better place, or will it leave me with other conditions?
Wellth is all about creating the best YOU. It’s about your health, your lifestyle, your relationships.
You can’t have Wellth if you don’t first ask questions. Wellth starts with critical thinking and a curious mind.
If this has you thinking, I invite you to start the process with my 7 day Foundational Wellness Class. You can sign up now for free.