the cost of eating healthy

Ever since my third bout in the hospital about a month ago for stomach problems, I’ve been even more strictly watching what I’ve been eating.  In that time, I’ve been noticing an interesting trend.   The cost to buy better food is marginally small compared to the healthy benefits that come with it.

I’m no economics master (nor do I have any interest in becoming one), but one thing seems pretty obvious to me.  If you’re going to pay $3 for a piece of crap lunch, chances are if you spend a little bit more, you can get something on a magnitude of 2 or 3 times better for you.

Here’s one specific example I’ll use.  At work, there’s a grocery store in the same area.  There’s a Subway a little bit down towards the end of the strip mall.  If I went there, I could get a crappy sandwich with nasty cheese and disgusting bread for about $5 after tax.  It’s not glamorous or great, but it’s cheap, right?  Well, if I go to the grocery store and order a custom made deli sandwich with really fresh meat and really good cheese, it cost’s me an extra $1.50.  Sure, it’s more money, but I’m not going to have to worry about having stomach problems.  And $1.50 extra is nothing in comparison to a $500 trip to the emergency room.

My take on the whole economics of it is, you’re already going to spend X amount of dollars for food.  Why not increase your budget by about 25% and get something *really* good for you.  Ever since I’ve started doing that, I have been feeling so much better.  Lots more energy, less tired, and just healthier in general.

A few other quick examples.  My sister who is a food guru, convinced me to switch from margarine and instead just buy real butter.  I was always, of course, put off by the higher food prices.  But then one day I looked at the ingredients of the margarine I was buying, which was basically nothing more than whipped plastic.  Looking at the one for the butter, it had one ingredient: whipped milk / cream.  That was pretty surprising, so I checked it out, and I loved it, and of course it’s nice to know that I’m eating less garbage.

Another thing little sis has warned me against is checking the ingredients for food where the first item listed is high fructose corn syrup.  Well, I’m a big fan of juice and everytime I go to the store I buy some weird combination of juice to try out, like Apple Cranberry (which is always my favorite).  I just barely looked at the ingredient list the other day and sure enough, the syrup of death was the first item on the list.  Ick.  So, I switched to buying 100% pure grape juice and apple cider instead of my regular stuff.  Again, it costs about 30% more than the old stuff, but I feel a lot better overall.  It’s been great.

Anyway, nothing major so far, but I’m making progress.  It’s pretty interesting how just quickly checking the ingredient list will turn you off of buying something.  I’m getting in the habit of spending slightly more for food, but I’m feeling better all the time.  And I’ve had a lot less stomach problems, too.  I tell you what.

3 thoughts on “the cost of eating healthy

  1. Mmm, there’s nothing quite like real butter, and real food in general. I get a lot of my real food delivered to my doorstep via Winder Farms. Pretty much everything I’ve tried that they sell has been delicious, and worth the small extra fee. Another advantage is that you can avoid trips to the grocery store and the temptation to buy well-marketed edible garbage there.

  2. Wow. I second that! Although when you live with someone like your sister (which I happen to do), you encounter a whole new problem – too much good stuff, hence my much-needed, seemingly never-ending diet. :( You can’t win them all.

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