I don’t normally talk much about my day job, but I was at a seminar this morning that I thought was so well-timed and dovetails so nicely with the blog and things we talk about here from time to time, I can’t resist.

I work in Human Resources (and I’m a newly minted PHR, as of Sunday, for anyone who knows what that means!) and so Health Care Reform is a major item on the forefront of everyone’s minds. At this seminar we talked about the small amount of details that have been clarified by the government and what to expect in the next few years as this plan rolls out.

And… here comes the soap box. :)

I don’t want to get into politics on here, although I’m sure few of my views would come as a surprise, but what I will say is that the fact that we are in dire need of health care reform should not be any sort of radical idea at this point.

I’m not saying I’m in love with the proposed plan. But it’s a start. What we actually see in 2014 could look completely different that what we’re hearing about, but this needs to be a priority. And it needs to start with you.

How is it that the US spends so much on health care, yet we get the least for our money? Do you know someone who goes to the doctor every time they have a cough, rather than waiting it out and eating saltines and ginger ale? How about people who manuever elective surgeries by fabricating webs of lies or at least exaggerating symptoms to get their way? And the drugs- we turn to the pill bottle before we both to examine our lifestyles and eating habits. Not that you can really trust that many doctors to know about nutrition, as nutrition courses are a minimal, if at all measurable, part of most physician’s training courses in this country. I’m not trying to say that the country is full of abusers, but at the same time, these sorts of things make premiums go up, make doctors stuff more patients into less time and make people dependent on drugs that are more likely to kill them than the problem they are seeking respite from will!

One of my favorite restaurants in Portland, Proper Eats, has a motto: “You look like sh*t and you feel like sh*t because you eat sh*t. Eat Proper.” And it’s true. It’s the old addage- garbage in, garbage out. As our lives become more filled with chemicals and processed foods and we become more sedentary, so many of our ailments are of our own causing. Many things we think of as common place things, like heart disease or Type II diabetes, used to be considered diseases of affluence- meaning that only the rich could afford to eat such crap. :) Now processed food is king (just look at the configuration of a grocery store, with the perishable, fresh foods forming a thin perimeter around the endless aisles of pre-packaged “food”). And we turn to pills we see on TV ads (with the most ridiculously common symptoms and terrifying side effects) to “cure” us.

We need more accountability. Things happen, and of course people need medical care and some things can’t be managed or avoided by diet and exercise alone. I’m not trying to downplay serious medical conditions, because of course they happen and can’t always be helped. But I know a good handful of people who would love to tell you their stories about battling (and winning) against disease through diet and exercise.

We have a greater influence on our own health and well-being that we give ourselves credit for- or hold ourselves accountable for. What can you do to take better care of yourself? How can you be proactive and preventative rather than falling victim to something that maybe didn’t have to happen? We’re not invincible, but we’re far more powerful than we realize. This doesn’t mean no more cookies or indulgences- it means smart choices and balance. And I think we could all use a little more of that.

So this is my challenge to you- what are you doing to bring Health Care Reform into your life?

Here’s what I’m doing:

Couch 2 5k a running program for non-runners. It gets you up and moving, builds stamina, increases heart and lung capacity and is good, solid exercise. There are tons of free podcasts on iTunes that provide music and cues to help you on your runs.

My regular yoga practice- good for my physical and mental health.

Continually cleaning up my diet. Eating more whole foods (which, contrary to popular belief, is not more expensive than junk food). More on this soon.

What will you do?

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4 Responses to health care reform- in your life

  1. Courtney says:

    Great post! I agree that we have a huge influence on our own health. I have started biking to and from work each day–better for me and better for the environment at the same time!

    PS I don’t know what a PHR is, but I am assuming it means you past your exam? Congrats!

  2. Beth says:


  3. Kip says:

    Well said. I’ve argued for years the change in social availability of food over just a few decades, that it was once a sign of poverty to be thin (and in some countries that’s still the case). I know it’s possibly to eat cheaply and still eat healthily, but the cost of fresh food versus boxed food astounds me. I moved to England from the US nine years ago, and I find myself in shock each time I return because fresh food is so much more expensive (my groceries cost a good 3x as much in an average MD supermarket vs here).

    But the personal responsibility aspect definitely plays a huge role. Like you said, I understand there are cases which go beyond diet and exercise, but at the end of the day we’re often far too likely to source a solution from a prescription rather than from a lifestyle change.

    It’s a bit of a passionate topic for me, so apologies for the ramble! Thanks for the great post.