How trading health for wealth won't get you far

“There is no point in wealth without health”. Trading health for wealth is no trade at all.

The above quote came to me from a client who has a comfortable amount of financial security, he is not by any means in the 1% but he is comfortable. He cultivated this over the years in his businesses from grit, hard work and determination. He worked extremely hard to build his business and provide a wonderful home life for his children but for many years he neglected his health.

There was never enough time to pay attention to his lifestyle as it affected his health, he ate on the run, poor quality fast food, no exercise, no downtime, always available for his business and customers. He spent time with his family but it was always interrupted with calls, problems to solve and stress unmanaged. He didn’t yet know the connection between his lifestyle and the creeping health problems that were plaguing him daily. GI upset, lack of energy, insomnia, skin issues, irritability, brain fog.

His attempts at conventional medicine brought him nothing but suggestions of medications and testing that only caused more side effects and didn’t actually help the symptoms.

Most people I know put a lot of effort into financial security. Whether that comes in the form of a career that provides a 6 figure salary, investments, creating a retirement portfolio that will allow them to live well into the years after working full time. Imagining the life that you will lead when you retire, traveling, doing something of purpose, relaxing. It’s important to have this security and to know you will be well taken care of as you age right?

But what if you don’t get the chance to enjoy it? What if you’ve focused so much on building this portfolio only to end up spending it on healthcare that doesn’t actually help you because you made the choice to ignore your true health and lifestyle choices? I’ve personally seen this happen and it broke my heart.

It is possible to create a balance between the two.

Our healthcare system is really a “sick care” system and it’s even failing at that. Compared with other developed and many developing nations, the US continues to rank at or near the bottom in indicators of mortality and life expectancy while continuing to exceed other countries in health spending.

Our insurance and conventional healthcare is just not cutting it.

One question comes to mind… what do we value spending our money on?

Some will drop up to $8,000 - $10,000 on a vacation yet bristle at the idea of spending $1-$2,000 /year on a private pay healthcare provider who can help them shift their lifestyle in a way that provides long-term sustainable health.

Many of our chronic illnesses or nagging symptoms that we just don’t pay attention to can be eliminated through lifestyle changes using a lifestyle-based approach such as Functional Medicine.

But you have to be willing to change. You have to be willing to see that slow, steady shifts in behavior rather than a pill, is really the answer to your long term health. Nutrition, physical movement, stress management, sleep, relationships, connection, a sense of purpose in your life…these things are critical in developing a healthy lifestyle most would love to have.

We as a society need to value our health as much as our financial stability. There is no point in wealth without health.

I’m not suggesting you dump your retirement funds into lifestyle medicine but putting more value on how we live our lives can significantly impact our long term happiness. The willingness to spend some out of pocket income to truly address our health is invaluable.

In my work as a Functional Medicine Health Coach in conjunction with Functional Medicine physicians and dietitians, I have seen amazing recoveries with clients by shifting their lifestyle toward sustainable and healthy living. Truly amazing changes.

Here’s one example…a client that sought out a functional medicine physician and coach team that went to three Endocrinologists who told her the only choice regarding her dysfunctioning thyroid was surgery to have it removed.

She was devastated, to say the least.

She reached out…we talked. No promises made but …what if making these lifestyle changes, looking into your gut microbiome with deeper testing and addressing the root cause with lifestyle change could show some change in those thyroid numbers?

She decided to try the functional medicine approach. Diet change, addressing stress ( a major root cause), addressing nutrient deficiencies found on testing, balancing hormones and a few other lifestyle shifts. One is changing the way she exercised, slowing it down - surprised?

Four months later? Her numbers were dropping to a level that her endocrinologist said to her “I wouldn’t do surgery with these numbers, let’s hold off”.

When just 5 months earlier they were telling her that surgery was the only choice. What I truly hope is that the eyes of the Endocrinologist were opened wide around the idea that lifestyle shifts can be a game-changer. That’s where the big changes can happen.

I can’t help but share these thoughts as I truly believe in the mission of lifestyle medicine, behavior change, shifting lifestyle and seeing these changes. They don’t happen overnight but the downward trend in our health doesn’t happen overnight. When you look at health through a lens of “I have control over this” versus taking a pill that may cause side effects you have a different outcome and you feel empowered.

There are many functional medicine practices around the country, seek one out. Make the change. Invest in your health and the goals you have to achieve as you age. Look at for someone in your area.

Sharing this message is what gets me out of bed each day excited to help others shift their mindset and truly make lasting change. A healthier world is a happier world.

Thanks for reading and please share this post if it speaks to you.

In best health,



Originally published at KarenBush.Com on April 16, 2020.

*Image by Marek Studzinski from Pixabay 


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