“I can’t afford health food. It’s too expensive!” – is the second most frequent objection I hear to eating for health. If you find yourself going along with this notion, thinking that you can’t afford to eat healthier foods, let me assure you that you can’t afford not to. There’s nothing more expensive than poor health. Invest in high-quality foods now or you’ll be investing in sick care later!

When you consider the costs of doctor visits, drugs, diagnostic tests, surgeries, procedures, and time off work that can quickly accrue due to poor health caused by a poor diet, you can begin to see how a little self-care via nutritions foods could easily pay off. If you were to compare these costs over time with the costs of healthier foods, you would find that prevention through better nutrition is always cheaper.

Quality of Life

When thinking about food costs, in addition to the costs in terms of dollars, it’s also wise to consider the costs in terms of quality of life. If you had extreme fatigue, headaches, sinus, or stomach trouble on a regular basis, wouldn’t you be willing to pay a few extra cents or a couple extra dollars or so per day to get rid of these nagging symptoms?

That may be what you’re doing already by purchasing over-the-counter or prescription drugs to treat these or similar symptoms and diseases. Or some of you may be buying a double mocha latte every morning for the caffeine jolt you hope will get you jumpstarted. The problem is, these approaches merely mask the symptoms and ultimately contribute to the perpetuation of any current ailments, in addition to the development of new ones, because they tax the body and often have harmful side effects that go along with them.

Symptoms and diseases of the body and mind prevent you from living your life to the fullest. Not having enough energy or feeling well enough to play with your children, participate in recreational activities, or pursue your passions is a much higher price to pay than the little extra you might spend on better quality health-promoting foods. Wouldn’t you agree?

What Do You Truly Value?

Take a moment to reflect on where you currently put your dollars. Why do you insist on spending a little extra to ensure better quality – clothes, furniture, jewelry, a luxury car? Are these conscious choices that reflect what you truly value in life, or have they developed over time and just become habit? How much are these choices influenced by society, family, friends, and colleagues?

In our modern society, although we claim otherwise, the care of our bodies and our health rank low when it comes to how we spend our money. Many people, for example, think nothing of spending exorbitant amounts of money every month on a new car payment, yet refuse to pay a few more pennies or dollars for higher-quality foods.

Frequently, if you ask these same people what they value more, their family’s health or their car, they will most assuredly tell you their family’s health. But that’s not what their sending habits say. More often than not, this is because they never really thought about it. It’s just what people do these days. It’s a consumer-driven cultural phenomenon. Similarly, most people are diligent about maintaining the health of their cars by taking them in for regular tune-ups and oil changes, while completely neglecting their body’s nutritional needs. As a society we currently spend more money on, and take better care of our cars than our bodies.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is – Literally!

Many people have the belief that eating health food costs more without ever having investigated the matter. Yes, most natural-brands of processed foods, such as salad dressings, pasta sauces, breads, etc., do cost a little more on average than the fake-food brands. But this is not what you want to be eating in great quantities anyway.

If you’re eating whole, fresh, natural foods, such as produce, legumes, and whole grains from the bulk bins, you’ll be spending much less than what you would spend on processed foods of any kind and getting much greater nutritional value for your money. Organic produce used to be significantly more expensive across the board, but today it’s often no more than, and occasionally even less than non-organic produce. Check the prices and see for yourself!

Also consider that if you’re truly eating for health, you won’t be spending money, or spending considerably less money, on expensive junk goods such as sugary cereals, soda, alcohol, snack foods, coffee, etc. You’ll also be eating out at restaurants less and dropping less money in vending machines – all of which add up to a smaller overall grocery bill. I could make a whole meal for two with leftovers on what some people spend every morning on their gourmet coffee and pastry to go!

When you take into account all the health benefits you derive and all the money you save on both acute and chronic illness care now and in the future, all things considered, eating for your health is the best deal going. Put your money where your mouth is, literally! You’ll be glad you did.

Modified excerpt from: No-Nonsence Nutrition in Bite-Sized Portions

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