Friday, September 15, 2006


So many people are curious about the fact that our medical expense are so low. It dawned on me recently why we rarely need to go to non-preventative medical visits. Our children do have preventative medical visits, I have yearly visits, Jonathan has preventative visits, and I have prenatal visits. for us preventative care is extremely important. I think this expands into our daily lives and explains why our medical expenses are low. How?

  1. My health insurance is great - preventative visits are covered at 100%. Much better than J's insurance!
  2. We exercise daily.
  3. we maintain a healthy weight
  4. We eat whole grains
  5. we eat very little meats, sugars, and unhealthy fats
  6. Lots and lots of fruits and veggies
  7. We drink water - a lot of it.
We exercise daily. Jonathan swims 1-2 miles everyday. I run 1-2 half marathons (or full) every year. This means running at least 3-5 miles a day (10 or more when closer to races). Right now I walk as much as I can (to the store and/or for enjoyment).

I cook everything from scratch using the freshest ingredients possible - freshly ground grains, a lot of grains, a ton of fresh fruits and veggies. We rarely eat anything from a box or any fast food. I say rarely because I think it is okay - just very infrequently. We don't drink soda often.

In spite of all of this, we do not obsess over our weight or appearance. We try to stress having healthy and strong bodies. Jonathan knows his family health history (heart disease on his father's side) and I know my parents (my mother died from breast cancer). Thus, we do take certain precautions in our food and fitness choices. I avoid soy products and alcohol as there may be a relationship with breast cancer. Jonathan does what he needs to in order to keep a healthy heart. We each have great heart rates, low blood pressure, great cholesterol.... We do not obsess, however. We try to stay healthy and active! In this I hope that we give our children the same attitute toward health and foods. I was overweight at one point (depression, abusive marriage, etc). Well, I chose to make a change and started to exercise and eat well. Exercise and healthy foods helped with depression and weight. Of course, escaping the dangerous marriage (and keeping my three oldest kids safe) was also a good solution to my health. Now I maintain a very healthy weight, attitude, and relationship.

Jonathan has seen first hand (as an MD) the reprecussions of years of an unhealthy lifestyle. The best way to avoid many diseases (heart, cancer, diabetes, etc) is to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.

Well, I suppose it also helps to have someone in the house who can check for ear infections... ;)

The other day I was walking through the campus and was amazed at what I saw. When I was in school I remember being of skinny to average size. yes, I was on the cross country and track teams (through college), yet I didn't feel unusually athletic. It seemed as if most people were of similar health. Now, however, as I walked through the campus I felt thin. Thin! At 37 weeks of pregnancy I felt thin! What a sad statement. These were late teen/early 20s girls. They should be at the peak of health - yet most are overweight to obese. We are certainly at a sad state of our culture.

Can you do anything to increase your health?

Start with walking 10 minutes a day, replacing one soda with water, or use whole wheat bread instead of white. Make one small change to start. Maintain that change and add another!


BurdockBoy said...

I consider myself a fairly healthy eater-whole grains, a lot of fruits and veggies, almost all organic, no soda or alcohol, very little meat, but coffee is my downfall. I also need to exercise more. I live 15 miles from town so I am in the car quite a bit. My goal is to walk daily and do yoga.

As for a bit of politics, I believe we should tax unhealthy foods and sodas to help pay for medical and dental public aid programs. It's a bit unfair for healthy lifestylers to pay so much in taxes for public aide for things that can be prevented. The junkfood makers should bare some of the financial burdens.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, it read like a health magazine article. I enjoyed it very much.

I'm a little overwieght and needed this remind to get out and walk!

~Too ashamed to post my name.

M said...

I understand the point of your post and appreciate it, but I also want to point out something you neglect to mention and that is that living a healthy lifestyle in no way ensures one will not have health problems or will not have to see doctors regularly.

If one is to believe in the logic you provide of why you don't go to the doctor often, it implies that those who do somehow are not living the healthy lifestlye you have or that they are somehow themselves to blame for their illness (an attitude that many have) or that they could have done something to prevent it.

That is just not true. In many cases diseases are caused by unknown reasons or by reasons tht have nothing to do with healthy eating and exercising. Our society's focus on this lifestyle is a good one but not in the way it has equated poor heath with the patient's own choices. That is the equivalent of blaming the victim.

I know you did not blatantly make that connection but the logic of your post implied it.

My medical expenses are unbelieavbly high and I do all of what you mention (with less if the miles) despite a chronic illness. My illness is not preventable nor has anything to do with eating or exercise. In fact exercising ften makes my symptoms worse.

I just wanted to create an awareness about this issue and let you know you are lucky to have good health and that your lifestyle is not the reason for your having escaped some of the difficult illnesses many others have to live with (and pay for) every day.

And now you suggest paying less for your insurance than I for something you simply have gotten lucky about and I have not? To me that is offensive. Why not just tax all ill people for their misfortune? The nerve of these people for actually getting sick!

Emme said...

burdockboy - We all have our vices and downfalls! Personally I love coffee, but only allow myself one cup a day. This week I am not exercising much, but that is because I am not ready for labor. Give me a week or two and I will be out running a few miles. LOL!

I was thinking about what you mentioned about taxes on unhealthy foods... What about insurance deals that will encourage people to use local exercise facilities or coupons for healthier foods?

Anonymous - don't be ashamed. We all have things that we need to do for our health. Just think of it as a wake-up to walk. Make a date with yourself (or family or friend) and go for a walk everyday at the same time. At my last job there was a group of 4 of us who would meet at noon and speedwalk 2 miles for 1/2 hour. It was a standing date and forced us each to get out and move our bodies!

m- I apologize to have offended you. I was not trying to imply that the only way to be healthy was to do certain things. I realize that there are chronic illnesses that need medical interventions. I should have clarified health and healthy lifestyle. People can still become ill or have chronic conditions while having a healthy lifestyle.

What I was talking about were preventable diseases. Not chronic diseases. There are a number of diseases that we can take a role in preventing.

My goal in this post was to indicate why we don’t spend much on medicine. We are fortunate to have good health. We also try to maintain that health.

BTW, I am talking about lifestyle – not overall health. Sometimes medical options are the only option, but medicine, diet, and exercise can still be encouraged!

I know that I could get breast cancer due to my family history. I am attempting to take preventative steps now to prevent it, however, I also realize that all of the steps I take may mean nothing. I could lose the battle regardless – just as my mother did.

I did not intend to offend anyone!

Sara said...

You are truly an are what I aspire to be! :) For so long I have felt like a crazy woman with all these ideals, crunchy/granloa thoughts, etc...but I've finally found someone with similar thought processes.

I used to be an athlete...even after high school, I worked out 5 days a week or more. After I got married and DD was born...that all went downhill. I have been trying to pump myself up to make some steps towards exercising more, and your post is just what I needed. I'm going to start small and walk around the block tomorrow and do some push ups! Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with burdockboy - illness can strike anyone at anytime. Just because it thankfully hasnt struck you guys is in some ways a matter of chance. A healthy lifestyle is great but it is easy to feel morally superior.

Emme said...

I know that illness or injuries can happen. We just try to do all that we can to prevent preventable diseases.

A few years ago our oldest daughter was riding her bike and was run over by a friend on a bike. She ended up having surgery and pins put into her hand. This was not preventable.

I also realize that one of us could fall off a ladder while cleaning hte gutters, etc.

Anonymous said...

BurdockBoy, have you seen the latest research showing that coffee is in fact quite good for a person? It's one of the top sources of antioxidants in the American diet (which isn't a great statement of the American diet, but it's better than nothing). Unless you're drinking ten cups a day, take pleasure in knowing that you're helping your health!

Anonymous said...


You may want to reexamine the research on soy and breast cancer risk. It's nice that you're taking good care of yourself, but don't let outdated information keep you from doing all that you can.

Emme said...

THanks! I will check on that. There is a lot of outdated information. And a few days ago we heard that red meat can also be detrimental to breast health. There seems to be something new everyday!

I have also read that coffee can be good for you. I try for one cup a day. It does not seem to be hard on Samuel, so I can happily enjoy it. :)