The Cost of Eating Healthy

mk’s comment on my last post about Christians and food provided a great transition for what I wish to write about today: Eating healthy is costly. I use costly as a very broad term, seeking to encompass all the different facets of cost. First, there is the price of food. Good, healthy food may cost you more financially. I am not necessarily referring to simply the high price of organic or all-natural food. Highly processed foods saturated with preservatives cost very little because our food industry is a science able to manipulate corn into anything that tickles our fancy. All-natural mac and cheese is at least two times as much as the cheapest stuff on the shelf. Free-range chicken or beef can be 3 times as expensive of those coming from feedlots or chicken houses. The disclaimer of this first point however is that fruits and vegetables really are not that expensive. Believe me. I’m not talking about the canned stuff but the fresh fruits and vegetables. I bought a jalapeno for 8 cents today. I think that’s a steal. My yellow onion: 47 cents. That 10 pound bag of potatoes: $2. Lettuce for a dollar, spinach for two. A pound of apples for $1.50, a pound of cantaloupe or bananas for 49 cents. I can hear you saying aloud, “Wow, that’s really cheap. Maybe I should start buying more fruits and vegetables.” But this brings me to the second cost – time. Eating healthy costs us our time. We have to prepare our food . . . slice the potatoes, dice the onion, boil the corn, slice the watermelon. We can’t just throw a frozen dinner in the microwave or that frozen pizza in the oven. We actually have to prepare the food. And this takes time (I must admit, sometimes I miss the caf at NWC). It’s easier to run to McDonald’s or Qdoba or Panda Express (there are a few healthy options at these places). By cooking our own food, we know what is being put into it. We are no longer in the dark of the many ingredients we don’t know how to pronounce, let alone have an idea of what they are. Lastly, we sacrifice our taste. I am not saying that eating healthy does not taste good. Rather, we have to re-train our taste buds to tell us what tastes good and what doesn’t. For example, if you don’t eat any sweets or sugars for a long time, you will begin to notice the sweetness of the fruit or the red pepper. Sweetness becomes redefined in our new diet. This isn’t an easy process and probably the worst thing to do is try and go cold turkey. But I do think this teaches us self-denial. Not only this last point, but all of them. Food is a gift. Gifts are to be cherished and not taken lightly. Too often we see food and eat it rather than thinking about where it came from and whom to give credit to for producing the food. Too often we forget that food gives sustenance to our bodies. Eating healthy means we take serious our gift of life, our gift of our physical being. But this costs us something. And these costs are what deter both you and I from eating in a healthy manner.

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3 Responses to The Cost of Eating Healthy

  1. Jon says:

    thanks for the thoughts

  2. christophermahlon says:

    I’m also finding this as I adjust to making all my food myself in Belfast.

    Also, perversely, you probably have better beer selection at your fingertips than I do. Quaff a Sierra Nevada for me, sir. I’m really glad I found your blog, Blaine.

  3. raisingable says:

    MANY wonderful thoughts. Food is a gift those of us who have enough take for granted. I can’t think straight on an empty stomach.

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