How To Be Healthy In Any Situation

When I was a healthy and carefree high school student living in a bubble of my own making, I wasn’t so careful about where and how I put my health — and my body — in front of the people I care about.

I will never forget my first trip to Italy. It was when I was a new graduate and a few days after graduation and I was traveling for the first time. It was a wonderful, fun and exciting time, but it took a toll on me and my health. I got sick more than once during that trip, and there were times I wished I didn’t.

I wish I hadn’t traveled to Italy so I could have done something more constructive about my health, such as going to the doctor, or doing something that would have a lasting impact, such as working out for at least an hour every day. A year later — during my first summer in Europe — I was back in Italy and found that the problem wasn’t all of the time I was sick, but the people around me. Not that I felt bad, or that I was ashamed that I had been sick, but rather, this type of social shaming has the power to turn a problem into an excuse for your own failure.

What makes one person sick enough to want to tell another person how to be healthy? Are we talking people with cancer or people with weight issues such as my daughter’s? Or is it the people who have food allergies, who don’t want to deal with gluten-free eating, or have the tendency to have multiple conditions and then complain to me that their health problems are making it hard for them to do their job?

What can my daughters learn from this? How much more conscious we must be about our behaviors and how we can be mindful of each other even as we live in some of the most socialized environments in the world? 

What kind of role should we put health in — the role of teachers, or as a responsibility that we collectively owe to our children?

Why do we feel the need to have such a conversation? Why do we think of our health as a responsibility that we owe to our children, rather than the responsibility of parents to care for each child in a way that is healthy and safe for them? What about our kids? Can we trust our kids to tell us when things are wrong in ways that are appropriate?

It’s time for people to become conscious consumers. I’m not talking about a boycott, but rather in a healthy way. I want my son to know that he’s a responsible consumer about his health, because that is what he has to be.