life self-care Wellness

Health is Wealth but Wealth Should Not Mean Health

May 4, 2018

Note: I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous to post something. I want to make clear before sharing this that this is not coming from a place of judgment. I am also acknowledging my own privilege and contribution to the problem. My goal is to encourage you to use your own critical thinking skills when figuring out what is right for you NOT to judge anyone else’s choices. Please read with an open mind.

* * * * *

I’m not going to pretend I don’t love my job. I do. I love it A LOT. I get to spend my days exploring the health and wellness world, trying things out for myself and sharing those experiences with you. I get to interview “mavens” and shakers in the wellness space about their journeys on the podcast and this space has given me countless opportunities that I never take for granted. I definitely have days where I don’t want to work or feel overwhelmed by what’s on my plate, but never have I wanted to do anything else. Starting this blog completely transformed my life and my career.

But as this space has grown and my hobby became my career, I’ve increasingly become aware of the responsibility that comes with this platform. I’ve always hated the term “influencer” but the truth is that when you share your life online you inherently will influence those around you. That community could be big or small, but no matter what the size is there is great responsibility in ensuring that what you share is truthful and is done with awareness of your audience.

Health and Wealth. Health is Wealth but Wealth should not mean health.

I’m not here to reprimand or throw shade at those who don’t play by those rules. The reality is that truth looks so different on everyone so even though I personally disagree with a lot of things I see shared within the health and wellness space (namely diet and fitspo culture), it’s not my job to tell them they are wrong…because right and wrong is an ever-moving target.

What I am here to do is send a message to you guys. My community. My people. I want to talk to you about the health and wellness space and what I fear is becoming a classified, privilege-based system. I’m also here to admit that I am a part of the problem, but hopefully my own admission can help you see where you’ve unintentionally passed judgement or played a role in the fracturing of the wellness space.

First, health is wealth. There is no arguing that. If you feel great, you are able to wake up everyday and do the things you need and want to do. Maybe that’s going to work, or taking care of your kids or showing up at a yoga class. If you’re feeling sick, dealing with chronic illness, addiction or pain, you cannot do these things. Or perhaps you can, but not without sacrifice. Health is never something to be taken for granted and absolutely should be one of our top priorities in life.

However, health should not mean wealth. I mean this in two ways. First, the healthcare system in the US is so messed up. As a born and raised Canadian I see it so clearly. That’s not to say the Canadian system is perfect (it’s not), but the amount you must pay for access to healthcare in this country is ABSURD. I’m lucky to be able to afford it and I 100% recognize this privilege, but it’s also absolutely crazy to me that that you must have money to get access to your basic health needs. No one should ever have to decide between their health and paying for something else. That being said, please make sure you’re covered. Health is not predictable so don’t roll the dice on it.

Health and Wealth. Health is Wealth but Wealth should not mean health.

But what I’m really here to talk about is how money plays into our decisions when it comes to wellness. I think so many of us take for granted (myself included) what it means to pay for a yoga class or buy vegetables, let alone every new superfood powder that comes out or life-changing supplement.

Yes, I’m very much a part of the problem and I’m not going to pretend I don’t love my adaptogenic elixirs and cute yoga pants. I personally use a lot of these things in my life, and yes, professionally it is my job to promote them. By now you know I don’t promote anything I don’t love, but I also want to make it very clear that I do NOT think any of these things are essential.

You can do yoga with just your body on the floor of your bedroom. You can eat cereal instead of a green smoothie for breakfast. You can drink your coffee without MCT oil/mushrooms/god-knows-what. You can do all these things and still be healthy. They are all perks but don’t confuse them with essentials.

I don’t share every workout I do or product I’m trying out for this very reason. I have a platform and am deeply aware that my decisions influence yours. Whether you have half a million readers, or two this rule still applies. Your decisions influence those around you. It’s not that I’m not being truthful, it’s just that I don’t ever want to make anyone feel badly because they can’t afford the same things that I have access to.

I want YOU to use your critical thinking skills when you see someone else sharing their shamanic healing protocol or daily cryotherapy sessions. I’m not saying any of these things are bad, you just do not need these things to be healthy. You are absolutely welcome to experiment. In fact, I encourage it! But not if it’s going to drain your bank account or take precious time away from doing other things you love or need to do.

Health and Wealth. Health is Wealth but Wealth should not mean health.

If you get 8 hours of sleep, you are enough. If you go for a walk, you are enough. If you get bee-venom injected into your veins daily, you are enough. Wherever you are at, you are enough.

Remember that everyone is on their own journey so please don’t pass judgement on where other people are at or what they have access to, whether it be a lot of access or very little. And don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s.

Sleep, breathe, drink water, eat your veggies and show compassion to yourself and others. Oh and free healthcare…but let’s save that talk for another day!

Thoughts??? I know this one was a heavy one…

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  • Reply
    Sanchia Bartley
    May 4, 2018 at 10:51 am

    Thank you for this post! Its so easy to feel like all these things are necessities. While they can be nice to have’s, it doesnt make you healthy not having them. Beautifully written! Sending much love from a fellow Canadian wellness blogger! xo

  • Reply
    Sanchia Bartley
    May 4, 2018 at 10:53 am

    **Correction: It doesn’t make you un-healthy not having them**
    Sanchia Bartley recently posted…Positive Affirmations

  • Reply
    Morgan
    May 4, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    All the feels with this one! I sometimes feel limited in my healing journey based on my price point for supplements, nutritionists ect. but also.. the truth is that I can do a lot of work on my own and there are a lot of free resources to help heal my mind and my body. I think we should be aware and take advantage of these. Maybe influencers can promote other resources and cheap products they use more regularly?!
    Morgan recently posted…What I Learned Giving up Blogging and Instagram for Lent

  • Reply
    Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite
    May 4, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Preach! Health DOES NOT need to be overcomplicated, expensive, and stressful. “Sleep, breathe, drink water, eat your veggies and show compassion to yourself and others.” –> LOVE this.

  • Reply
    Em @ Love A Latte
    May 4, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks for posting this. It’s definitely hard to see this clearly in the world of social media. It forces me to look deeper within rather than scrolling to find “healthy”. Listening to my body and what it needs is so damn important. Chipotle and a move night today, ok! The next day I’ll probably want a green smoothie and a work out (Kait Hurley’s thanks to you!). I’ve been battling a health thing this year (vestibular migraines, or other disorder…) which I’m figuring out and I’ve spent hours scrolling seeing what other people do, but when I step back and just focus on my needs, it’s easy. Dinner with the fam, yoga from a video on my iPad, food I crave and fuels my body, and playing outside with my boy…that’s my healing… Sometimes I wish social media had an off day the ways stores are closed. I just need to learn to turn it off for myself better.
    Em @ Love A Latte recently posted…Things That Fuel My Soul: Favorite Platforms for Movement, Meditation, Learning + Happy Vibes

  • Reply
    Heather Hurst
    May 4, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    I agree! I grew up without A lot of money, paid for college on my own and had many months of only being able to afford to eat one box of macaroni. & cheese (made with water) a day. One potential answer is for more health influencers to donate a certain amount of time & resources to the underprivileged.

  • Reply
    Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass
    May 5, 2018 at 6:32 am

    I love this, Davida, and it’s so true and takes a lot of guts to post as a wellness blogger. In truth, a lot of the “health” fads that have surfaced over the past year have made me incredibly frustrated, especially when I read a blog that promotes healthy eating but their smoothie contains 4 trillion powders and the tears of a unicorn’s left eyeball. It’s just SO much. Health IS wealth, but privilege to attain specific products and lead certain lifestyles is definitely a privilege. I think more bloggers (myself included) need to address this. It’s important to let others know that if they don’t practice yoga everyday or put crystals all over their bodies or have 5 hours to dedicate to meditation and green smoothies that they’re still healthy. Nothing wrong with any of these things, but I will say they’re not how the majority of people live. That’s OK. It’s all OK. Thank you for sharing!
    Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass recently posted…On Changing Your Life and Avoiding Fluorescent Lighting

  • Reply
    Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie
    May 5, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Davida, I am sooooo happy you put this out there. This whole idea that you need to have every new superfood powder and be a part of every new fitness trend is something that has really been bothering me the last few months. Maybe it has to do with me feeling on the outside of the influencer community when I cannot afford these items or just don’t want to put my hard earned money towards them right now. It’s frustrating to feel like I am inadequate in the health and fitness sphere because I don’t use every new product out there that major influencers do, but I know that at the end of the day I am still keeping my body “healthy,” even if that does not mean that I pick up on every new trend out there that promises to make you your healthiest. It is so refreshing to see you put this post out there, especially as a major influencer (even though I know you don’t like that term!), because it makes me feel that I don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy gym membership or a grocery store haul to feel like I am doing something right for my body. <3 <3
    Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Things I Am Loving Lately

  • Reply
    Bluegreenguitar
    May 6, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing. It’s good to keep things in perspective. I agree with Brittany, “Sleep, breathe, drink water, eat your veggies and show compassion to yourself and others,” sounds like a good way to live.

    If someone is stressing out about being more healthy but they’re already very healthy, then it ironically partially defeats the purpose! Or at least might be an indicator to keep things in perspective.

    Also, I agree that Money shouldn’t be a prerequisite for health. But, in many circumstances, monetary abundance can help magnify a person’s intentions. So if someone dedicates themselves to wellness, money can help. The potential benefits to wellness is, in many cases, one of the good reasons for people to strive to earn a good living.

    But just as important are other attributes without money as a prerequisite. For example, critical-thinking skills, culinary skills, wellness knowledge and discipline all play important factors in the wellness lifestyle.

    Some of my friends make very little money, but with their knowledge of wellness, budgeting, nutrition, fitness and culinary skills they live very well.

    Best Wishes!

  • Reply
    M. Keogh
    May 9, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Everything you wrote is so true! I feel like a failure if I can’t eat only organic because I can’t afford it, or the latest supplement or ever changing food trend… We all want to be healthier and help family and friends to be or stay healthy too but I feel we have limited time, access and financial constraints we cannot ignore. I don’t want to let them down and I can’t help but feel guilty at times for not putting enough time and effort so it’s hard when people judge without knowing our unique story.

  • Reply
    Chef Sherry
    May 9, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Davida, this exactly what people need to HEAR! Influencer’s are exactly what they are. I love reading about all the latest healthy foods, tonics and potions. But it all comes down to, what do I need for my body and well-being?
    Just because someone you follow is using an expensive product doesn’t mean it is right for you. We all need to look inside ourselves and find what we truly need to be our most beautiful and healthiest selves.
    So, be smart about your health and spending your hard-earned money it’s the only life and body you have!

  • Reply
    Cyndi D
    May 10, 2018 at 7:20 am

    I couldn’t agree more! Thank you SO much for posting this!! My family and I have all we need, but we don’t have a whole lot a room for additional expenses…say yoga. We try and drink water and eat our vegetables, but the price of healthy eating and living is so expensive. You could spend far less on a cart full of candy, chips, and cereal than a cart full of fruits, veggies, and essential dairy. But it’s nice to know that there’s people out there who won’t judge for that. Thank you so much for posting this!!

  • Reply
    Amber @ Bloom Nutrition Therapy
    May 15, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    I think this is perfect! I live in Southeastern, Ky, and it seems for most everyone here, life is 20+ years behind the rest of the country. We don’t have grocery curbside pickup here, let alone grocery delivery (what I would give!!). We are fortunate to have one gym that doesn’t even have a pool. Our community has made an effort to create some outdoor spaces for activity/enjoyment, but most everyone has to drive to get there (and not everyone can afford a car). Many of the areas in Southeastern, Ky could even be considered Food Deserts because families have little to no access or way to get the food they need for the week because they live so far out in the country.

    I love that you have brought light to this important issue. I also think of myself as priviledged considering where I have grown up and where I live. However, even I, look at life in the blogosphere or Instagram and can only imagine what it might be like to be able to walk outside my door and have access to so many perks. Instead, I walk outside my door and am faced with the reality that I can’t even enjoy a walk down the street because it’s not really that safe for a woman to be wandering about in dissolute areas.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      May 20, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing, Amber. It’s such an important issue that we must all be discussing. Health is never meant to make people feel badly or create some kind of hierarchy. Health is based on what you have in front of you and access to and that should never be compared with anyone else. Lots of love <3

  • Reply
    Amber @ Bloom Nutrition Therapy
    May 15, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Thank you for this!

  • Reply
    Dr Loden Rogers
    May 27, 2018 at 4:28 am

    I couldn’t agree more! Thank you SO much for posting this!! My family and I have all we need, but we don’t have a whole lot a room for additional expenses…say yoga. We try and drink water and eat our vegetables, but the price of healthy eating and living is so expensive. You could spend far less on a cart full of candy, chips, and cereal than a cart full of fruits, veggies, and essential dairy. But it’s nice to know that there are people out there who won’t judge for that. Thank you so much for posting this!! thanks for sharing such interesting post.

  • Reply
    Dr Loden Rogers
    May 27, 2018 at 4:30 am

    This is a great post.thanks for sharing.thanks for sharing such great article.

  • Reply
    Jade Roberts
    September 21, 2018 at 2:36 am

    I think it’s easy for people to become overwhelmed with what they should and should not do. Sticking to the basics of eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and veggies, drinking plenty of water and getting some exercise is a good start. And it doesn’t have to be that expensive!

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