What is the Cost of Being Healthy?

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It is a common misconception that good health will be a financial cost too great for many. From a quick view, many think about the cost of organic foods, nutritional supplements, gym and yoga class memberships and visits to health care practitioners.  And then there is the cost of time.  Time to cook real food, get the treatments in, go to the classes, and get outdoors.

Lets look at it from another perspective. Lets think about the “cost” of not taking good care of your health.  If we put the time and energy into taking good care of ourselves and working on prevention of disease, it will pay off from a cost perspective personally in the form of feeling better, having more energy, decreased sick days, improved mood, less emergency care, prevention of medical intervention, and decreased need for pharmaceutical use and hospital stays.

I think that people get overwhelmed with all the ideas out there to improve health and therefore often do nothing.  I always say that even one small change is a step in the right direction.  Take time to make a list of some things you would like to change and then plan to have these changes implemented throughout a year.  This could be something like: start to compost, start a multivitamin, change plastic containers to glass/stainless steel, monthly massage therapy, buy filter for our water, join 8 week yoga class, walk 3 times per week, eat one vegetarian meal per week, start a gratitude list.

Specifically, when you are relatively healthy and go to see a naturopathic doctor, it will give the ND a chance to put together basic nutritional recommendations including food and nutritional supplements, exercise regimes, lifestyle changes, and a goal list for you as your homework.  I recommend that this type of patient return to the clinic for a visit 4 times per year near the change of each season to review the plan and make change where needed.  This keeps people accountable and also provides support if something acute comes up.

Here is my advice as a Naturopathic Doctor on how to move towards better health with financial cost in mind.

  • Review of your medical insurance plan and see what you are covered for under complementary health care. Look into acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, massage therapy, counseling, chiropractic care.  Once you have that figured out, utilize these therapies for you and your family to help improve health and wellness.
  • Don’t wait until you are “sick”, to seek care.
  • Work with someone or take time online to put together a weekly nutrition plan for your family.
  • When grocery shopping, check out the organic produce first to see what makes sense to buy considering price and freshness. Look for local and farmers market produce.
  • Utilize local and wild game and fish where you can.
  • Learn a new recipe each month.
  • If buying supplements, start with the basics: a good multivitamin with high B vitamin content, Vit D, Vit C, something green, and a fish or plant based oil. Talk to a naturopathic doctor to develop an individual supplement plan that matches you and cuts down on wasted purchases and redundancy.
  • Talk to your health food store professionals and utilize their product knowledge to be able to combine your 2 bottles into 1 or take advantage of their sales and customer appreciation days.
  • Consider online healthy meal delivery companies to decrease shopping and inspire learning of making new dishes.

And now the really really free stuff:

  • Drink 2 litres of room temperature water per day
  • Go for a walk each day for 30 minutes.
  • Follow a daily guided meditation online
  • Lay on your yoga mat to stretch and breath 10 minutes per day
  • Write three things you are grateful for each day
  • Journal, doodle, write poetry, inner most feelings……
  • Commit to random acts of kindness weekly. You will get addicted to this once you get into it!
  • Challenge your negative thinking to become positive!
  • Read self help books from your public or friend library

In good health,

Dr Kathleen Mercer BSc ND

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