Your Health Is Your Decision

Janice Piro, DC, DABCI

Ask anyone what the most important thing in their life is, aside from their loved ones.
Usually, the first answer is their health. Yet, we see the fast food industry growing by leaps and bounds and drug companies expanding to where pharmaceuticals represent a significant portion of the stock market.

So, what’s wrong with this picture? In his book, Overdosed America, Dr. John Abramson uses compelling evidence to make the point that the focus of health care in this country has shifted away from doctors educating us on healthy lifestyle choices to the drug companies educating us on the newest (and most expensive) magic pill. Yet, we are seeing a nation getting sicker and sicker with chronic degenerative diseases. And those diseases are being diagnosed at an earlier and earlier age.

One of the problems is that we’ve mistaken advertising for education. We’ve allowed ourselves to believe that the drug companies’ products are the answer to our every ill. But, the truth is that prescription drugs will never make us healthy; they can only mask the evidence of our illness, and sometimes with devastating side effects. We’ve also allowed ourselves to believe our own rationalizations that there is just no time to cook healthy meals (besides, fast food is healthy, right?).

The issue here is one of responsibility. To effectively take that responsibility, a couple of decisions must be made. The first decision is to gain knowledge in the area of healthy lifestyle choices. Rather than rely on television’s advertising information, there are several very good publications and websites on today’s health issues. Finding out what healthful eating actually is, and understanding what environmental toxins are and what their negative effects are on our bodies, is tantamount to living a healthy lifestyle. I have references and links on my website, www.PiroClinic.com, that can help get you started on your quest for knowledge in this area. Then, acting upon that knowledge is your decision.

Next, the decision must be made to allocate both time and money to the implementation and sustaining of the habits that promote health. We know that eating right and exercising are what keeps our bodies healthy. But, those specific actions must be in our daily routine. It is not what we do once in a while that effects us the most, rather it is what we do EVERY DAY.

The first task is to be sure you only have good foods in your home. If we have our cupboards and pantries full of only healthy foods and snacks, preferably organic, it will help us to not eat the bad stuff too often. Recently, my sister was complaining to me that her kids would only eat the unhealthy, sugary foods. I suggested that she clean out her pantry and refrigerator of all the junk food and fill them with only healthy, organic foods. If the bad stuff isn’t there to choose, then they’ll eventually get used to the healthier foods. It took all day with the help of a friend to do this junk food purge, but she knows it was well worth it. Although there was a bit of complaining at first, she and her two girls are now eating much healthier foods.

The next task is to set up your daily schedule to include exercise. It is very helpful to find an activity that you enjoy doing rather than doing exercise just because you know it is good for you. Exercise can become a drudgery and unsustainable if you do not enjoy it. And consistency is the key to effective exercise. After I had my two boys, I had dropped out of regular exercise for a few years. What I was doing for exercise previous to motherhood just didn’t fit in with my new family schedule. I decided that if I was going to be able to get into an exercise routine, it was going to have to be something I enjoyed doing that fit in with my family’s activities.

I decided to try out karate since my boys were already taking it and loving it. For me, it worked out perfectly. It gives me great strength and cardiovascular training while being competitive enough to make it fun. But, whether it is a competitive sport or walking on the beach, decide what it is that you can do four to five days per week WITHOUT COMPROMISE. Then you will reap the health benefits of that exercise and you will find yourself looking forward to doing it. And more than likely, you won’t allow anything to get in the way of that time you set aside for your activity.

To make a clear decision to be healthy means not following the mainstream. It means educating yourself on today’s health risks, spending the extra money on organic and healthy foods, and taking the time to exercise routinely. These are the daily decisions that will help your life be happier. After all, if we don’t have our health, what do we have?

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