Co-Author: Rebecca Madsen
This is a long post. Please take the time to read its entirety. You will not regret it!!
You may ask yourself, “What the heck does eating healthy have to do with personal finance?” The answer may be shocking – it actually has a lot to do with finances.
I suffered from ulcers in the past. The 1st bout that I had with them (ulcers), I listened to the Doctors’ orders and did not drink any alcohol. I tried to avoid certain foods. It took nearly 8-10 months for the ulcers to completely heal (the first time).
The 2nd bout with ulcers came last year (2019). It was a combination of moving to a new place, finances and work related issues (some that were completely out of my control). I listened to the Dr’s advice for awhile; then decided I would do things I wanted to anyway. I drank occasionally, I ate foods they told me to stay away from. It was a disaster. I kept thinking to myself, “Why am I not getting better? I am not stressed (now) I should be able to eat/drink whatever I want to eat/drink.” I was sorely mistaken.
I was sick a lot in 2019. Every time I thought I was making strides to getting healthy again, someone in the household would get sick and give it to me. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired (pun intended). I was getting lots of sleep, taking naps during the day in order to regain strength before the workload of the week hit. For some reason, I wasn’t getting better and I was still tired.
They only addressed the ulcers. With medication that only addressed the ulcers. And a diet that only addressed the ulcers. I hope I didn’t be-labor that point! They didn’t look at any other underlying reasons why I still wasn’t feeling healthy. I knew it was time to make a change.
I went to a holistic Dr who took labs and blood panel to check for food sensitivities. Apparently I had 19 different food sensitivities I wasn’t aware of! My vitamins were low and good bacteria was not existent. I also found out what my blood type is (after 35 years). Once I had the data, I began doing research on my own to determine what types of foods I could have vs what I could not have. It is still trial and error to this day, but I am feeling so much better after receiving vitamins and minerals that my body was lacking because I couldn’t process nutrients. They asked me about my history of medications taken, plus my family history of illness, as well as provide me a plan that didn’t involve drugs. I couldn’t believe it!! Meal planning: they gave me a 4 day diet that offered several variations of proteins and vegetables which was refreshing. It didn’t feel like I had to eat the same thing over and over again.
We chose to take responsibility for our own health vs playing the victim/passing blame. We have to be our own advocates. The healthcare industry and pharmaceutical companies are not going to promote true health and nutrition because that doesn’t make them any money.
Did I mention the amount of medical bills that came in after seeing the ulcers? The procedures, the medications recommended, the follow-up site visits. Thank goodness for insurance, am I right? See how it is inter-woven though. You eat unhealthy food and stress over your job only to wind up in the hospital working with Doctors who prescribe certain pills that the pharmaceutical company wants to pedal. Then you have subsequent appointments to check on your progress. $$ dished out in every direction!
Relevance is on its way, readers. Please stay tuned!
There is absolutely a hidden cost when it comes to healthy eating vs unhealthy eating. For example: when you cook a meal at home, you know exactly what is going into your food, what types of food will give you the best nutrition, and which foods will give you energy. When you eat fast foods, it depletes energy, does not give you the best nutrition and it is more difficult to control what goes into your food. Sure it tastes good, but what is the cost? $20 grocery shopping can stretch a bit further since you can create multiple meals from proteins/grains vs $20 fast food which is only one meal. Contrary to popular belief, processed foods are not healthy. Restaurant, packaged or pre-made foods (typically ones you can microwave) are very addictive. Companies hire people called “Food Technologists” or “Scientists” to create the right blend of spices or sugars to keep you craving more which in turn makes you return multiple times in a month. When you are tired, you usually don’t want to cook up a 3 course meal, you run to the nearest food chain to get “more chikin” or “think outside the bun.”
How does this pertain to COVID-19?? You don’t often hear about cooking meals at home in advertisements, right? Normally you will see ads for fast food restaurants, or making it easy to have a delivery service bring the food to you. Think about what is currently closed right now: parks and gyms. Isn’t that ironic? Restaurants are open, but you have no place to workout…Liquor stores are open but you cannot take your child to the park (in certain areas). Without getting super political, it’s interesting to see the government’s take on it: creating fear and panic, making us think we’re safer at home, don’t hear about cooking at home but opt for more take-out).
We’re not saying don’t eat out, but be selective. Support local places that serve healthy food. It may be a little more expensive, but the nutrition value will be greater than what you’d find in a meal from a fast food restaurant.
Think about how much (or actually calculate it out) you spend on fast food vs processed food (soda, chips, boxed and pre-modern food). I’m going to bet fresh produce costs less than packaged food, but even if it doesn’t, it will cost you less in the long run.
Long term, eating healthy and having healthy habits (good sleep, exercising regularly, etc.) will make you less susceptible to having health issues; therefore, spending money on medical bills and medications. The standard American diet leads to standard American illnesses (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc).
Your dollar is important – not only to you but local businesses as well. You vote with your dollar. Support local farmers (farmers markets, ordering a CSA box or meat box). It’s better for you and everyone else. Food doesn’t have to travel as far (less carbon footprint). You’ll be eating what is in season. You’d be surprised at how much produce you can get for your money!
Whew – that was a long rant. If you made it this far, congratulations! We hope that you are diving deeper into what healthy eating means for you and understanding how it relates to your budget. Thank you for investing the 10 minutes of time it took to read this. We hope that it changes your future for the better – both your gut and your wallet!!!