Good Health Care And The Daily Kitchen

We’re hearing a lot about health care these days. I don’t worry about it so much as I have good health care today (who knows, things change, companies change health care policies, unemployment could happen). It wasn’t until very recently when I went to get new glasses that I realize how fortunate I was. See, I normally wear contact lenses and I have glasses to wear–not necessarily for stylish reasons; just to wear when my contact lenses are dry. I paid about $150 for two boxes of lenses (one for my right eye and another for my left eye). The two boxes are good for maybe 3-6 months. Then, I paid $258 for basic lenses (and it was on sale). Now, in my family, I am not the only one who wears glasses. My husband and daughter both wear glasses. So, there is a cost for that too (on top of the fact that we just got my teenage daughter braces–a $5000+ expenditure; half of which is paid by insurance. The other half is paid by us and we had to give them $1000 cash to get the braces. We have a monthly payment plan of $96 over 20-24 months). My son is destined for braces; another future cost to our family budget!

It was at that moment when I had to give the salesperson payment for my glasses that I realized how scary it is to not have enough money (or credit) to finance the basics for my family.

Now, what does this have to do with The Daily Kitchen? Well, everything. Shortly after I left from getting glasses, I had to go shopping for food–more money to spend! I spent another $135 (I had spent over $300 last week at Sam’s Club for bulk items—e.g. paper towels, detergent, meat, etc). In one day, I spent $600! When I shop, I do not buy processed foods. As you may know, I prepare food from scratch. It is too expensive for a family of four to buy prepared foods especially when only one person is working outside the home.

Time and preparation are our greatest resources (whether you are working full time outside the home or not). Not only for planning healthy meals for your family but also for maintaining good overall health including:

• Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day

• Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day

• Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day

• Get an annual physical

• See your dentist twice a year

• Watch your BMI and make lifestyles changes to improve your health

• Stay among people who support you and are positive. A healthy mental attitude is as important as a healthy body! One does not exist without the other. Stay positive, concentrate on things that need to be done (have a plan) and work your plan. Everyday!

• Manage your stress!!!!!

These are things I remind myself each day. I do not have the luxury to do different (e.g. “I don’t feel like cooking. I should order out”). I don’t have an infinite amount of money in our bank coffers. The same amount of money comes into our household every month. So, I have to work with what we have until I am fully employed. I am blessed to have health care but I still have to pay our portion of the bill. So, I must be mindful.

I have made mistakes. I have lived more like a consumer than a producer. I have to change (and I know my husband would like for me to change too). Sometimes the lack of financial resources can lead to better choices because you don’t have as many. I think it will take producers to take control of not only our finances but also our health. It will take producers to make and plan healthy meals each day rather than buy it. It will take producers to get off the couch and move more to improve their health. It will take producers to analyze and stick to their budget to get out of debt. To be a producer is a lot of work (the down side). The upside is a great deal of self-gratification and good health.

Maybe we can save some money too!