Warning: Rated R for Rant
Years ago, the pastor of my church used to have this catchphrase that he would incorporate into his sermons, “Can we talk?” He would inevitably use this whenever he had something deep and meaningful to say. He would lean forward slightly into the pulpit, drop his voice and almost whisper, “Can we talk?” It was a bit of a performance shtick to be sure, but it was effective. Like Pavlov’s dogs we would lean forward as well, waiting to hear something profound and meaningful.
Can we talk? Eating healthy is expensive.
No matter how you define “healthy” for yourself, it’s almost always going to be more expensive than what you were doing before.
One exception… sort of… I remember watching the fantastic documentary Food, Inc as they interviewed this Latino family in California. After showing this family chowing down on a massive dinner of fast food, the doc then showed them perusing the produces aisles of a store. They complained that vegetables and fruits were too expensive to eat. I say poppycock to that. For the amount they spent on their rather disgusting looking fast food dinner, I could cook a healthy meal for them with vegetables and even a little side meat.
Now I’m not blaming them. These are hard lessons to learn. At one point they are pointing out how expensive a vegetable is and how little they could purchase. They don’t understand that a little bit of this and that puts together a great dish. They don’t understand that a little healthy goes a long way, this is a concept that takes time to learn.
So no, I think when we really analyze costs, we can all agree it is cheaper to cook than to purchase fast food or dine out. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about canned soup, ramen noodles, mystery helper, etc. As I shop the store, I have come to the realization that there is no question – it is cheaper to buy and “cook” with junk than it is to cook absolutely from scratch from fresher, healthier options. And this should come as no surprise – the premade stuff is loaded with cheap fillers that lower the cost of this phood (phony food – phood).
And, just to be perfectly clear, I’m not even talking about the next level up – organic, pasture-raised, antibiotic/hormone free, etc. I’m just talking real food as opposed to phood. Phood is cheaper.
Why am I ranting about this? I think I’ve read one too many blog posts, articles, and Facebook comments blithely chanting, “Eating healthy now is cheaper than medical bills later.”
Well. Yes. I suppose this is true but to say this is the height of pompous arrogance, said by people who CAN AFFORD TO SAY IT. The fact is, most of us have budgets, and most of us have to draw the line somewhere. And if you are really trying to detoxify your life, it doesn’t just end/begin with food – the elimination of household toxins is a vital component to health as well, one that I would put on par with the food. Yes but we ingest food? What about the air we breathe, do you think that doesn’t count? It does my friend, it does. But wait…let’s get back to the food. We have budgets of varying degrees, so it REALLY irks me when someone points out that the healthier we eat, the healthier our bodies will be.
No friggin’ duh.
But that flippant little fact doesn’t add money to my wallet.
And while we are on the topic, another rudeness I encounter frequently on the health-o-sphere… “We can ALL afford healthy food if you would just give up that latte/ice cream/soda/whatever-food-sin-you-are-currently-committing”. Yes, my maybe-weekly latte would buy me another dozen pastured eggs, but you know what, I WANT THAT LATTE. Color me selfish that since I can’t go out and buy new clothes, jewelry, perfume, or a friggin’ bottle of fancy bubblebath (that is probably toxic anyway) that I go and buy a latte for ME. And the cost of that one latte isn’t the problem when I go grocery shopping.
Ok, I apologize how this has gone off into a rant. Obviously I have some things I need to get off my mind ;-)
Can we talk? I think it’s time we all admit these things, instead of ingratiating ourselves to the health crowd, crowing about our healthy food, our homes, our lives.
Can we talk? Living healthy is a not a “right”. It is a luxury. It’s a luxury not all of us can afford, at least not immediately. It takes planning. It takes learning. It takes sacrifice. Of course those are the easy things to do. Unfortunately, it also takes money.
More on this to come…