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Travis Danner
Special to The Express

I didn’t take my health very seriously when I was young and I suspect my country didn’t either at the time.

I grew up in the 1990s and as long as I can remember, I ate a lot of fast food, dishes out of the microwave and drank soda by the liter. It was the norm. It was cheap and easy for our parents and we kids liked it. But we had no idea of the true negative effect eating that way would have on our health.

The times are healthily a-changin’.

It would seem that way because 7.1 million people have signed up for Health Care through the now functional federal health care exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act.

That would be what some derisively refer to as “Obamacare.”

“Obamacare” is now responsible for the largest expansion of health care coverage in America in the nearly 50 years it’s been since President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the implementation of Medicare into law.

It’s the 2010s now and finally, maybe the United States of America is beginning to take its health seriously.

I’ll be honest though, I still have some work to do. When it comes to junk food — I can provide a detailed explanation for why Wendy’s Baconator is better than Jack in the Box’s Bacon Insider. I’ll save that for a later article, but as you can read, I’ve never been fully able to shake the addiction to all those little wax paper-wrapped cholesterol treats the masses use as a food substitute.

My drug dealers are Ronald McDonald, Colonel Sanders and Carl’s Jr.

But, as I get older and wiser, I see more and more that I have to think about the consequences of eating reheated junk someone handed to me in a bag from a window behind a store. Every empty calorie I ingest is a disinvestment in my future — every poor health choice I make is time I’m potentially robbing myself of.

Time with my wife. The kids we’ll have some day. All of our friends and family.

It’s important to treat one’s self every once in awhile with something like fast food — if we’re being honest, it does taste really, really good — but at my worst, I know I’ll eat it multiple times a week. Occasionally I’ll eat it multiple times in the same day.

But I can say proudly that I’m at least starting to turn the corner.

I’ve started doing yoga. My wife and I have planted a vegetable garden. I’ve improved my cooking to the point where I can now fix myself plates that are both nutritious and taste amazing.

I may still stumble into the arms of my old friends Carl, Ron and the Colonel — but I’ve set up the infrastructure of my life to provide me a better chance at living a healthy life.

With the millions of people who now have healthcare coverage due to the Affordable Care Act, it seems my country is now starting to do the same thing.

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