One Real Thing You Can Do to Avoid a Personal Health Recession

Mar 18, 2010 | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Everyone's talking about the real suffering we are experiencing during the current economic recession. Everyone's worried about their jobs, financial situation and future. Everyone's thinking about living and eating on the cheap as a result. But ... But, is anyone thinking about the health recession we have been in for the last several decades? And how the crash of our collective health precipitated the crash of our financial well-being?

What, you may ask, is a health recession? The degeneration of our nation's health and its impact on the world and the economy, the result of the smorgasbord of death we call food has created a society of the sick. The capitalistic minds that run pharmaceutical empires who view our health through prescription bottles, along with the food manufacturers who peddle embalmed meals like Lean Cuisine, grilled chicken and multi-grain junk food and call it healthy have depressed wellness and ignored the importance of real preventive care in our lives.

Our responsibility in all of this is simple. Our complacency has given carte blanche to corporations to do with us as they please. Our decision to sit on the sidelines as monolithic companies put us into financial, spiritual and physical bankruptcy has contributed to the situation we find ourselves in today. At what point were we convinced that we could remain financially robust if we lost our health and vitality?

The statistics are staggering. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer are decimating us. We all know the numbers and yet we continue to trudge dutifully into the fast food, drive-through cesspools that peddle health-stealing swill to our children and to us. And you can skip the "in this economy, we can feed our families more easily in these places" argument. It just doesn't fly anymore. It's time to realize that eating well is our right, not a privilege for the elite few. You must strive to feed your family and yourself the best quality you can if you are to live the life you want to live.

A powerful revival effort of lifestyle awareness has to begin among Americans. The economic recession that our news media obsesses about 24/7 is commensurate with the increase in catastrophic lifestyle diseases that threaten the very fabric of our society. Coincidence?

The lifestyle diseases that steal our health and make us weak and vulnerable most definitely have a negative impact on our individual financial well-being. A stretch, you say? Think about this:

When you feel well and strong, you are more productive, more proactive in your work. With strength you are a font of creativity, ambition, drive and the ability to get results.

On those days that you feel less than spectacular, what do you really get done? Be honest with yourself. Don't you just skulk through the day, praying for the moment when you can head back to the sofa and hope for a better tomorrow?

Doesn't it stand to reason, then, that taking care of your health ... eating well, exercising regularly and vigorously, managing stress and your weight ... all those things that we know we must do to avoid the ravages of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke and even cancer will result in strong vital bodies and clear minds for our business ventures and daily work days?

I can talk to you all day about personal responsibility for your health. I can talk to you all day about eating well and how it makes you feel good. But that doesn't seem to be enough incentive to create proactive participants in personal health. Feeling good doesn't inspire people to take preventive care of their health.

People tend to conform to the thinking that wellness deficiencies are simply part of the aging process and there's nothing we can do about them. Medicine and pharmaceutical companies have told us for far too long that declining health and energy is a natural process and that only their intervention can bring you back from the brink.

Well, it's time to take control of your health and destiny. We think of wellness as an absence of sickness. We're well until we're actively sick. In order to save ourselves from this health recession that threatens to swallow us, we need to redefine wellness. In reality, wellness refers to an active lifelong process of being aware of choices and making decisions to achieve optimal health. The American Heritage dictionary defines wellness as "The condition of good physical and mental health, especially when maintained by proper diet, exercise and habits."

With a world that's more toxic than ever (7,000,000,000 pounds of toxins are released into the environment each year), our bodies are not designed to cope with such levels of poison. We have to compensate by keeping our bodies well-fueled and strong. And you can't do that as a regular customer who eats under the Golden Arches. As I have said before, cheap eats come at a high price to our health.

So what's the one thing that can save you from the health recession that's causing a life ... and financial slump?

Have respect. And it begins with your body.

Sounds simple, right? And you may think you do it already. But do you? I'm not talking airy-fairy affirmations about loving your thighs or your receding hairline, but respecting the greatest gift you have been given. Your body; your life.

Do you eat food that satisfies you on all levels, your appetite, your tastes, your life's purpose? Do you keep your body strong with regular exercise so you sleep well and manage stress with grace? Do you maintain a healthy weight? And before you write this off as a deceiving way to get you make healthy food choices, think again.

Wellness of body and mind will create financial awareness and proactive responsibility, resulting in an ultimate revival of our bodies, minds, checkbooks and world.

Creating wellness starts in the kitchen with the food you choose to fuel your life. Experts on diet from Drs. Neal Barnard and Mehmet Oz to T. Colin Campbell all agree that respect for our bodies begins with eating a plant-based diet rich in whole, unrefined grains, fresh vegetables, beans, fruits, nuts, seeds and healthy fats. Balanced eating is the foundation of balanced living. If we remain physically unstable, how can we hope to regain financial stability? If we are not well and strong, we lack the capacity to make decisions with a clear mind. We can't focus. We can't compete.

Respect for ourselves is slowly being eroded by marketing, advertising and self-help gurus who bank on you being unfulfilled, searching for the way to feel complete, whether it's racking up credit card debt for things you don't need, but promise you'll be thinner, sexier, more desirable, more popular, even smarter or jamming yourself with junk food in an attempt to fill the emptiness that leaves you feeling lost.

Regain your self-respect by nourishing yourself properly on the most basic level, with the food you choose. From there, your healthy body will inspire you to take more and more proactive action to create the life you want to live ... and you'll have the health to enjoy it.