The whole premise of my education business, Mind Money Motion, is that the more we take care of our mind and body, the less we have to worry about running out of money… because good health costs less.
Many years ago, I used to be a registered dietitian, so I know the importance of good health. So, when Registered Dietitian Alisha Chasey spoke to a women’s group that I facilitate, I should not have been as surprised as I was when she reminded the audience that 70% of our immune system starts in our gut. Who knew?!
A Healthy Gut
A healthy gut microbiome, the environment in our stomach/intestines, is a crucial requirement for taking care of our body, and it is all driven by what we put in our mouths. If we can focus on color, and keep it fresh and organic, we can boost our immune system. Dietitians know this and challenge us to eat the rainbow every day. Where do we start so we can have a better mind and body?
Build Your Rainbow
Think of a build-your-own-salad bar as a build-your-own-rainbow bar. Experiment with lots of different kinds of greens and vegetables and fruits that can be added as toppings along with some nuts, oils, and even crumbles of cheese or meat. Alisha has some great recipes to check out, not just salad recipes either. One of my favorites is her No-Bake Energy Bites.
It’s All About Behavior Change
As I mentioned earlier, I was a Registered Dietitian as my first career before shifting into the business/financial side of my education. I tease my advisory clients now that I went from helping people balance their diet and exercise to now helping them balance their money life.
It’s all about behavior change no matter which of those subject areas we are talking about. Regardless, changing our behavior is the hardest part!
What Motivates You?
We are all motivated by different things in life. I was always interested in feeling good, staying healthy, and doing whatever I needed to maintain that. So eating the rainbow makes sense to me, and I find it enjoyable and easy to eat vegetables. How about you? I know lots of people who are not big vegetable lovers.
Save More Money
So would the “saving money” by being healthier argument be more motivating for you to eat more vegetables? The numbers are pretty amazing. The Obesity journal found that the average person saves approx. $15,925 if they maintain a healthy weight past age 50.
Americans would save almost $3 billion annually in costs related to constipation if we got 25 grams of fiber/day (which is about 36% more than the average person consumes daily). The New England Journal of Medicine estimated a potential savings of $7 billion annually if Americans reduced daily sodium intake (more fresh vs processed foods).
Fixing Our Health
Certainly, exercise is a critical part of maintaining good health too, but Tufts University reminds us that about 1/3 of the 3 trillion dollars spent on health care is spent on diseases related to diet. Heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are preventable or delayable with a healthy diet. Their message to us: we can fix health care by fixing our health!
One Bite at a Time
I know I have used this “joke” in the past, but it makes such a good point. How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. That’s how we can improve our health. Pick one change you are willing to make and master it.
One eating the rainbow change I am working on is switching from eating prepackaged salad kits to buying organic greens/vegetables to incorporate in a build-your-own-rainbow bar several times a week into our meals. Delicious and beautiful!
Your One Bite
What is one “bite” you could change to eat the rainbow more often? Buy a new fruit or vegetable you haven’t tried once a week? Making a salad your entrée once or more a week? Committing to eating an apple a day (to “keep the doctor away”)? Doubling your vegetable portions to increase your fiber intake? Incorporate a new organic food weekly?
Pick one action. Write it on a sticky note. Post that note (or multiple copies) where you will see it daily to remind yourself of your journey to better health. Check out some of my podcasts to keep you motivated not only related to nutrition but also your mindset and exercise. Without good health, we can’t enjoy anything in life. So a healthy life really is the pot of gold at the end of the fruit/vegetable rainbow!
This article was first published at 60 and Me – a community that helps women over 60 live happy, healthy and financially secure lives.