Food & Fitness

Creating your own Health Insurance

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Managing Good Health

At the BlogHer 2010 NYC conference that I attended last week, I met several bloggers who lamented the way that health care systems work and the expense involved for getting medical tests. There might not be a whole lot that people can do to directly and immediately change their country’s health care system (although getting involved in politics, contacting people in power who can make a difference, and getting your voice heard in general are all ways to express your concerns and bring awareness that things need to change), but we can make some indirect and more personal changes to our lifestyles as a sort of “insurance”.

Pay now – don’t wait until later. A few days before I left for New York City, I paid off a hefty visa bill (it had furniture on it). When I checked my online banking account right before leaving the country, the transference from my account to my credit card bill had not yet been processed; consequently, I forgot that I had already paid it, and so I re-paid it. The result was that when I returned to Canada and checked my online banking – after I had put hotel bills and nearly all the rest of my expenses on my visa card – my bill was already paid off. I had unintentionally placed a large sum of money on my card before I’d even spent a penny. You can imagine my delight at realizing that it was already paid off!

We can also apply this attitude to our health. I like to go to the gym first thing in the morning because my plans might change later on in the day – I might wind up staying late at work, I might be incredibly tired when I arrive home, or any number of little obstacles could arise to get in the way of daily exercise. By doing it first thing, we don’t have to worry about it as much later: any extra exercise that we do during the rest of the day can be considered a bonus.

Drinking water or tea consistently throughout the day also keeps our hydration up, which simultaneously keeps up our energy levels and keeps our bodies functioning in good order. I walk around with a (reusable, BPA-free) water bottle at work and continue to re-fill it. I also frequently have a cup of tea nearby. Most coffee shops will give you a cup of iced tap water without any problems if you forget your bottle when you’re out and about. Drinking milk or making your own lemonade, smoothies, iced tea, or hot chocolate with fresh, natural ingredients will also maintain good hydration and act as “insurance” for your health (and it will be tasty enough that you probably won’t get bored of it the way some people do when it comes to drinking water).

Think about the future. Do family members have a history of health problems? Have you noticed a slight twinge in your knee lately? Do you spend hours staring at a computer screen? Take inventory of your specific lifestyle and anticipate what future health problems may enter your life. If members of your family have had heart disease or cancer, take precautions to prevent yourself from also contracting these illnesses. If your knees or back are bothering you, start going to a physiotherapist or look into how you can do more low-impact movements so that your knees and back do not have to be needlessly strained. If you’re a blogger or otherwise find yourself in front of a screen, get your eyes checked out and be sure to wear glasses if you need them, or your eyesight will steadily decline.

You will know your personal state of affairs much better if you keep an inventory. Writing a food diary or exercise log, or monitoring your nutrients in some other way will help you to be more aware of your personal situation. We’re pretty good at not recognizing it when we neglect our health, so if you have a consistent reminder – perhaps even just a checkmark on the calendar when you went for a 30-minute walk or an ongoing tally of how many greens you’re incorporating into your meals each day – you will be better able to understand where you are at and improve or maintain your health from there.

What are some of your personal health insurance policies? How do you prepare yourself in the event of a health problem? What is your take on current health care systems and concerns around the globe?


  1. Emergefit

    I believe the US health-care system is a victim and not the fall-guy it has been made out to be. Yes, you read it correctly, THE US HEALTH-CARE SYSTEM IS A VICTIM. A victim of rape, perpetrated by all the people who stand in their kitchens each day holding the door open and inviting, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes into their bodies, and into the bodies of their children.

    This is not an indictment on those who suffer unsolicited illness and disease. Rather, it is a commentary on those who have a built-in insurance policy and choose not to use it; the ability to exercise daily and eat less (or no) crap.

    I have often wondered what the US health-care system would look like and how much better it would function if everyone just moved and extra 20 minutes per day, and ate one less meal. I think the answer would be noticeable.

    1. Sagan Morrow

      You make a good point and yes, we do need to take into account personal responsibility. On the other hand, it would also be great if civilians and corporations could work together to promote good health – for example, having mandatory walking breaks in the middle of the day for all employees at every business. Or the government improving nutrition labels in conjunction with citizens making an effort to choose whole foods. I think that when we start blaming one person or group, that is where the problems begin: we need to instead seek to work together if we want to see real change and better health for everyone.

  2. Dr. J

    Of course I agree with Roy’s point!

    What exists however is over priced, not just tests but drug prices are insane. The whole system is a mess and I do not see any way to fix it. Ever measure that is suggested is opposed. I absolutely agree that any preventative measures you can take for your health is the best things you can do!

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  4. Mimi (Damn the Freshman 15)

    Oh, the pharmeceutical industry is ridiculous. It’s a huge reason why our livestock in the US still have antibiotics given to them (apart to keep them alive after a crappy corn-fed diet). No way are they giving up that much money to follow the EU’s antiobitcs ban.

    That said, I roll my eyes at the people who say we should be like France’s health care system. Their system has tons of problems too, and would never work in America. We need to find a system that best serves us…and a helluva lot of it will lie in prevention.

    1. Sagan Morrow

      Great point, Mimi. I think that we really glorify systems that we see elsewhere, because we don’t know the full story of how they work. Plus, what might work in one area will not necessarily work in another, and we have to keep that in mind when trying to figure out what will be the most appropriate way to service the society we live in.

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  6. Rodrigo Mushrush

    Hi there I loved your post. I feel that it’s important when talking about diabetes to at least point out natural treatments that have been shown to be effective in controlling high blood glucose. Many natural herbs can be including in a diabetics regimen that can help preserve a healthy glucose level.

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