I am not a person who has a lot of strong opinions about things, but one thing that I do have a strong opinion about is health. I can’t help feeling a little concerned when people casually downplay the importance of their own health, saying that they “don’t care” or “they’re going to die soon anyway.” It’s not something that should be taken lightly.

Maybe you’re thinking that only healthy people like to rag on the unhealthy. It’s true that I am a very healthy person. I just had my blood tested and found out that my blood pressure is excellent and my cholesterol levels are optimal. My weight is fine and I eat a balanced diet (I never skip breakfast), I exercise regularly (I just ran the Mini-Marathon) also, I rarely get sick. So, I guess I can be righteous in saying that people should examine their own health issues, right? Actually, it’s not that I want to be right, I genuinely am concerned; it saddens me to see unhealthy people who refuse to believe that there is a serious issue at hand.

There are a lot of reasons for poor health and one major problem is the large portion diet. There is no need to be eating a 14 oz steak in one sitting (although I have done this–it’s a rare event). Everything seems to be “super-sized” and large, and not just the combos at the ubiquitous drive-throughs in the mid-west, it really is everything. There have been countless times when I have seen people pour an entire packet of dressing onto a salad; there are large portions of everything in the midwest including salad dressing. What was once a healthy leafy salad, is now more like a savoury soup with some greens. (How many calories in salad dressing? Check here to find out how many calories in 1 tablespoon). I remember coming back from South Korea, where most servings are noticeably smaller than the western world; it was a bit of a shock to see the difference in portion sizes. In South Korea, a can of Coca Cola is about 250 mL (or 8 oz). In Canada and the U.S. the standard size of pop is about 355 ml (or 12 oz). However, if you go to any local convenience store, you can always get a larger sippy cup size, as much as a 64 oz cup (1.8 L). The consumption of soda pop in this country and of other industrialized countries, is alarmingly high. Not only is soda full of sugar, highly acidic and therefore bad for your teeth and possibly other organs, but there is absolutely no nutritional value. (I saw an interesting and at the same time, disturbing 60 Minutes segment questioning whether or not sugar is toxic). 

If people aren’t interested in taking care of themselves through diet and exercise, they rely on the quick fix – medication. It seems like we’re living in a world where if there’s a problem, there is a pill out there to fix it. Just think of all of those drug commercials that you see on TV telling you that you don’t have to be depressed, take a pill, if you have high cholesterol, take a pill. Rather than taking a seemingly easy fix (and in actuality, taking a pill is not the easy way out because you are already at a point where bouncing back to normal health is a little bit harder) wouldn’t be better to just avoid getting to this point all together? There are so many health issues that can be avoided and are nearly, if not completely, 100% preventable (examples include diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol).

Ultimately, it is up to each individual to look after themselves. I urge you to challenge yourself and to take the first step towards living a healthier life. Even though it’s Mother’s Day today, I hope that everyone out there not only looks after their mother, today and forever, but themselves as well.