One of the main excuses I hear when talking to people about changing their diet is that eating healthy is too expensive. I realize that eating processed, mass produced food may appear to be cheaper, but in the long term it will cost you much more than you think. Does eating healthy really cost you more money? I want to share with you that eating healthy may cost you a little more money on your grocery bill, but will save you more money as you keep your body free from disease and your productivity levels higher.

I get very frustrated when I see how much more fresh produce costs compared to cheap, processed and manufactured food. I also get frustrated when I see a constant rise in obesity throughout our nation and a total disregard to funding low income families and individuals in the area of nutrition. Food stamps, for example, are widely used in the United States and contribute to $104 billion dollars per year and families on food stamps are usually allotted no more than $2.00 per meal per person each day making it nearly impossible to buy fresh food which costs more than processed food and has a shorter shelf life. Out of the annual budget $986 billion dollars a year are spent on medicare and health, $598 billion dollars a year are spent on military and defence while education receives $70 billion dollars. Out of a budget of $3.8 trillion dollars, only $104 billion dollars spent on food assistance while health care continues to consume nearly $1 trillion of those dollars!

Do you see something wrong with this picture or am I the only one that notices the direct correlation to our lack of knowledge and our lack of good nutrition leading the way to our health and obesity epidemic in the West?

Although this is on a larger scale and we must look at our own incomes in order to determine what kind of foods we will buy, we can start to educate ourselves by focusing our efforts and resources on eating the healthiest, most sustainable way we can in accordance with our finances. The clientele I have and the majority of the people I talk to, do in fact, have the resources to eat a lot healthier than they believe they do, and although we are in a current economical climate that is challenging for both seller and consumer, we can still manage to use our resources wisely and towards things that will increase our health, productivity and help us pave the way for future generations to be strong, fit and capable in all areas of life.

Processed food does indeed cost less financially but will cost you greatly in your health, energy and in the end your finances. If we do not choose to eat foods that build up our immune system and our health, we will invariably deal with chronic illness and disease, thus contributing to a decrease in productivity and therefore reducing our ability to make more money. The healthier you eat, the more of a productive and contributing member of society you will be, and the more money you’ll earn. Cheap processed food may initially cost you less money but will lead down a road of more and more costs both financially and physically.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, you just have to be smart about where you shop and what you shop for at any specific time. Going to your local farmers market and buying fresh produce that’s in season will always cost you less than going to a specialty health food store and buying organic produce that’s not in season and has been shipped thousands of miles just to get to you. I am in complete agreement with eating organic foods but we have to be wise about what we are eating in accordance with the season if we are on a tighter budget with food.

Buying free range meat is notably more expensive than factory farmed meats but is so much higher in nutritional value than its counterpart that you don’t need to eat as much to feel satiated or to get the adequate nutrients you need. Eating free range, organic pasture raised meat also doesn’t give you the consumption of added hormones, antibiotics and steroids that you get with factory farmed meat. These added chemicals lend themselves towards obesity, cancer and heart disease just to name a few. Free range meat is also more ethical and sustaining to our environment causing less of a decline in overall costs associated with factory farming feedlots. Does eating healthy really cost you more money?

Would it not be more beneficial to spend your money on the things that actually keep you healthy and able to make more money by not being sick all the time?  If the US spends nearly $1 trillion dollars on health care, doesn’t that tell you something is seriously wrong with the way people consume food and the way people live? What we eat is a direct reflection of our health, the two go hand in hand. You cannot be a healthy productive person while you continue to consume cheap, processed, food-like products day in and day out, it just doesn’t work that way. The only way we can sustain our health on a physical level is by eating in a way that nourishes our body and sustains the environment.

Although these are US statistics, Canada is following suit. Alberta, for example has a provincial budget of $52 billion dollars and has budgeted over $20 billion dollars towards healthcare, while budgeting $7 billion dollars on education. Out of that healthcare budget $548 million dollars are going towards prescription medication which companies pay for, insurance pays for, and we, the tax payers pay for. It costs all of us a lot more money than we think to eat cheap food. We are dealing with a multibillion dollar industry that makes its profit from chronically sick people. There is no revenue from people who are healthy and there is no income from people who are dead, there is only financial gain from those who are chronically sick, those who spend money on prescription medication and those who make countless visits to their doctors each year. If we are paying billions of dollars into healthcare knowing that the leading cause of death is heart disease, which is totally preventable, are we really saving money by eating cheap food?  

What you eat will transpire into how healthy and productive you will be in life, and even though eating healthier food may cost you a few more dollars, every time you vote with your forks against a system that wants to keep you undernourished and chronically sick, you invest in your very own health insurance. If you value your health and the health of your family, you should have no qualms about spending good money on good food.  You can either spend money on healthcare trying to correct illness and disease caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, or spend money on eating clean whole foods that will actually keep your body from needing to fight off medical conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and obesity, all of which are under our control. 

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