Monday, September 27, 2010

Why it's so expensive to eat healthy

What’s the true cost of eating the typical American diet; a witch’s brew of heartrending, wallet-busting diseases, and incapacitating obesity? No one possesses the stones however, to cop to the naked fact that we support the health care crisis with our unfocused dietary choices; pure and simple. Food illiteracy simmered with our addiction to Big Food’s twaddle is the stone we should overturn. Our nation’s health care crisis is not a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. It is a crisis of culture – a culture where it’s deemed perfectly acceptable, almost Patriotic to spend money on dead nutrition then eat it sedentarily whilst vegetating in front of computer or TV screens, foregoing any semblance of physical exertion.

Most everyone suffers from the dreaded Italian disease, Mafundsalow and descend on cheap foods like paparazzi onto Paris Hilton. Due to disproportionate costs, poor folks and the middle class struggle mightily to eat healthy. It’s mind-bending that this can happen in the greatest country on the earth. Pure, fresh food should be freely available to everyone, not just the Fat Cats. If you only have $3, you want the most for your wrinkled dead president. We’ve seen the ad for a complete meal consisting of a artery-clogging burger, fries and coke for only 2.99. Then Meijer, Marsh, and Kroger executives pat themselves on the back because they offer diabetes and obesity causing low-grade ‘white boxed’ food on the cheap. Alas, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Eating healthy can be, but doesn’t need to cost more. The problem lies in the fact that scores of folks loathe cooking and end up buying pre-made health foods, which are costly because you paid someone to cook it, package it, and then ship it hundreds of miles to your microwave. Cooking from scratch is the joyous answer. For example, you could by 2 medium sweet potatoes for the same $1 you spend on small French fries from a burger joint. Or you could procure 2 red peppers brimming with heavenly antioxidants for the same amount you pay for sugary soda pop that causes triglycerides to soar. You could enjoy a healing bowl of Steele cut oatmeal for $2 or a chow a bag of oily chips. A large bag of oatmeal is $3.50, or 4 chocolate bars. Six chicken breasts can cost $10, or what you’d pay for a sub combo from a fast food shack. Or how about $3.50 for 18 local farm fresh eggs up against a $5 dead bovine burger. Two salmon fillets can cost $15; the same as a large pizza. Consider homemade chicken or tuna fish salad verses a $3 box of cookies. It’s all about perspective; being honest with yourself.

As empty calories get cheaper, the healthy fruits and vegetables that protect the temple are becoming more and more expensive; become luxury goods. Calorie for calorie, junk foods not only cost less than fruits and vegetables, but junk food prices are less likely to rise as a result of inflation. The Center for Public Health Nutrition found a 2,000-calorie diet would cost $3.52 a day if it consisted of junk food, compared with $36.32 a day for a diet of ‘real’ food. Of course choosing to eat dead calories over nutritious food might save money, or “fill you up”, but the true cost ends up being repaid through bad health and shorter life expectancies. So, realistically, it’s more expensive to eat lousy disease-causing food since ultimately, you pay the medical bills.

As one who has been devising and publishing healthy recipes for years, I honestly feel if we slow down and return to the joyous act of cooking, we will most certainly overcome our plagues of illness. There’s absolutely no reason why we cannot eat in a healthy fashion just as cheaply as we can consume the chemical stodge that ultimately destroy us. Life is really not that hard; we reap what we sow.

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1 comment:

ed said...

our culture is so insane! i really like this post, i wish everyone would read it and understand it...keep up the good work! namaste!