Money & Food

You’ve heard the expression Pay Now or Pay Later.  That’s  what I think about when it comes to food choices available to the American public.  Why are potato chips, sodas and candy bars so inexpensive, but produce such as apples, sweet potatoes and broccoli more expensive? Why do Americans gravitate toward convenience foods whether it’s junk food (salty snacks like corn chips, pretzels and popcorn), sweets (like cookies, cakes and candy) or fast food?

Michael Pollan provides an explanation in his book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.

Meanwhile, the genuinely heart-healthy whole foods in the produce section, lacking the financial and political clout of the packaged goods a few aisles over, are mute.  But don’t take the silence of the yams as a sign that they have nothing valuable to say about health.

Page 157.  Advertising is extremely persuasive.  Think about all the fast food commercials and salty snack commercials on television.

And what are the consequences to the health of the American public?

I believe it’s readily apparent the consequences to Americans’ health.  Consume a lot of convenience foods now, and develop various medical conditions (for example obesity, diabetes, hypertension)  later in life, which in turns means one must take several pharmaceutical drugs to combat the various medical conditions.  Watch the entertaining documentary Supersize Me for additional information.

A simple step in reducing medical costs in the future and in maintaining a healthy weight is to eat right.  Avoid any and all food products [i.e., processed foods] containing high fructose corn syrup.  {Why is high fructose corn syrup bad for you?  Watch the entertaining documentary King Corn.}  Eat sufficient quantities of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Eat in moderation.  And, of course, exercise.

Sounds simple, right?   So why don’t we do it?  Too busy, too lazy, not as tasty as convenience food.  Hmmm, another expression comes to mind, live by the sword, die by the sword.

I’m no exception.  For years I would eat fruit, in a heart beat, but didn’t eat many vegetables because, preparing veggies were “too time consuming.”  I can eat an apple or pear (after a quick wash) or peel a banana.   It’s not as quick and simple with veggies.

Well, even if veggies require a little more time, I need veggies to help balance my diet.  Fruits are good for you but consuming too much too often may not always be wise because of the amount of sugar (even if natural).

But back to  pay now or pay later.  Several years ago a work colleague told me her doctor had prescribed a cholesterol lowering medication.  Now I know the development of high cholesterol is not always attributable to diet.   Genetics may play a role.  But I challenged this work colleague to change her diet by having oatmeal daily for breakfast.  She followed my suggestion.  I recall, during a follow-up, the work colleague learned her good cholesterol had improved.  This work colleague was motivated to change her diet because she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life taking a cholesterol lowering medication.  [And that becomes another fixed expense you need to account for in your budget.]

Obviously, as we grow older (I’m thinking from an age range of 55 to 65), medical costs will likely rise.  One way to control some future medical costs is to take control of your diet.  Remember, you are what you eat.

Kumuda Reddy, M.D. (with Linda Egenes) summarizes the importance of diet in the book, Conquering Chronic Disease Through Maharishi Vedic Medicine on page 165.

Diet is one of the pillars of health in Maharishi Vedic Medicine.  Eating is one of the three most significant things you do each day to renew your body and uphold health.  The right foods can not only prevent disease, but also alleviate many chronic problems.   Changing harmful dietary habits is one of the simplest, yet most effective, steps you can take  to eliminate chronic disease.

Don’t short change your future health by cutting corners now.  Eat right.  As Michael Pollan suggest, pay more, eat less.   In other words, buy organic but don’t consume too much.

Think of paying a little more for quality, healthy food as an investment for retirement – instead of saving and hopefully growing one’s nest egg, you want to eat healthy & exercise with the goal of not being dependent on any prescribed medications.

You think I’m day-dreaming?  Until my great aunt had to be admitted to the hospital last August, at age 97 she was not taking any prescribed medications.  The paramedics, the  nurses, the doctors were stunned.  And her retirement income?  Just over $900/month.  If you had so little income at retirement, you would hope to be as healthy as possible so you would not incur hefty medical expenses.


1 Comment

  1. June 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    It’s Nice Post, keep posting and have a nice day… 23:58

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