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Eating Healthy Is Expensive

“Eating healthy is expensive!” is something I hear all the time when I start to talk with them about moving from processed foods to a more whole food diet. I nod my head and ask “Have you ever wondered why that is?”  So I pose the question to you: Have you ever wondered why boxed, canned, or bagged foods are less expensive?  

Which is more expensive: a cubic zirconia or a real diamond? So when you think of it that way, you understand that a lot of the items that you are buying off the shelf are not real food.  In the past hundred years we have moved away from meals cooked from scratch from our own gardens to foods pulled out of the freezer, heat & eats, or picked up through a drive-up window.  Convenience is seductive and most of what we buy is easy to make and put on the table quickly.  I get it, I’m busy too, but what you put in your body is important.  It’s hard when a salad costs $12 and a hamburger costs $9, but you have to remember how you feel when you eat them.  You might feel satisfied and happy for a few minutes with the hamburger, but then the heartburn, indigestion, or general blahness sets in.  

There are several ways to move from buying processed foods to whole foods with very little impact on your budget, but it takes planning.  Yes, that dirty word: planning!  It can be a dirty word to some, but it really is key to your success.  Budgeting is your friend in this adventure and with that you may have to make some hard choices.  If your budget is $140 a week for a family of 4 you can have enough to purchase whole foods, but the more snacky things may get cut.  Meal planning is your friend in this, looking at what you have and building from there. Planning out what you are going to have will help you keep on track with your budget.  Pinterest is great with helping plan your meals.  

Where you shop can help you keep your costs down.  One way to help support local farmers is to venture to a Farmers Market.  A lot of the time when you buy straight from the source, you can buy it cheaper and better quality.  Where a lot of people hit a stumbling block is that you will have to eat seasonally when you do this. This is a great way to learn all about new foods and expand your range!  Remember the more colorful your meal looks, the better for you it will be. My recent discovery is Aldi’s. They tend to have a good variety of fruits and veggies and supposedly they will be completely organic by the end of this year, so bonus. I’m big on shopping organically and that can get very expensive if you are purchasing everything organically.  To save money, I shop from the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists.  So I know what really needs to be purchased organically and what I can buy conventionally. 

Processed foods are cheaper because they aren’t really food in a lot of cases.  They are a few known ingredients and then a lot of chemical fillers that are cheap to mass produced.  What you have to consider is what is important to you.  Is your overall health more important than the convenience of making dinner from a box, can, or heat & serve meals?  It’s something to think about.  Asking yourself what your health is worth is something we should be asking ourselves on a daily basis.  Everything you put into your body is important and can either hurt or heal.  According to Statista, the total amount spent on prescription drugs in America in 2019 was $511 Billion.  That’s BILLION. The amount spent has increased every year since 2012. In a lot of these cases, changing the way you eat can change your health in very significant ways. There is something to be said for the saying: “Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.” ~ Hippocrates. Here’s a mental exercise I like to give my clients: Close your eyes and picture an outline of your body. Now think of what you ate today and place it within the outline.  Is it an image that looks healthy or not so healthy?  What changes can you make?  This exercise seems to be effective in visualizing what you are eating. 

If you need help in coming up with strategies to fit into your life, I’m here to help.

Niki Claybrook holistic nurtitionist