The Cost of Poor Nutrition

I regularly get comments or questions about the affordability of eating nutritious foods. One of the saddest myths in this country is that it’s expensive to eat healthy. It’s not.

The number one cause of premature death used to be tobacco. The second was poor nutrition. Poor nutrition is quickly overtaking tobacco as the number one cause of premature death in the United States, so my first question is, “What is your life worth?”

Think I’m being melodramatic? I’m not. How many people do you know with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or cancer? 80% of heart disease, 90% of diabetes, and 60% of cancer can be eliminated with dietary and lifestyle changes. How many people in your life could be saved by eating healthy?

There’s a reason one of the hottest political topics right now is health care costs. Not long ago, housing was the largest expense for an American family. Now, health care is. If trends continue, regardless of who pays for healthcare, healthcare costs will bankrupt the US.

So why is everyone so sick? The standard American diet. This isn’t speculation. This is cold hard fact. If you want to know more, message me. I will be happy to direct you to the mounds of research that show processed food is killing us. Americans are overfed and undernourished.

Given that for every one dollar you invest in nutrition you save seven dollars in health care costs, can Americans afford to not eat healthy?

Second, when you eat healthy, well-grown/raised food, you are satisfied with smaller portions. When you try to replace those unhealthy options with healthy options, it can seem more expensive, but it really isn’t. Yes, grass-fed, local beef is more expensive per pound than store bought beef, but when you eat a healthy 3-4 ounce portion of grass-fed beef, you will be satisfied, where as you may need an 8-10 ounce portion of the bland, sub-standard beef in the grocery store.

You’ll also find that as you progress on your health journey, you get more adventurous in your cooking. You’ll find yourself using new vegetables you found at the farmer’s market. You’ll even occasionally have meals with beans or nuts as you main source of protein, which will reduce your grocery costs even more.

Finally, the unhealthy processed foods aren’t as cheap as you think, because those inexpensive foods that are killing us are subsidized by our tax dollars to the tune of thirty billion dollars a year. Imagine what would happen if everyone stopped eating corn syrup? I suspect the government would find something else to spend the money on, but maybe we could help them find something that would actually help the public!

Before we started our health journey, my husband and I used to spend around six hundred a month on food between eating out and buying large portions of meat, dairy, and cheese, and our cupboards were usually empty the day before grocery shopping. We now spend under three hundred a month, and we always have plenty of food in the house. We eat really well and love our food. Best of all, we almost never get sick, and we’re no longer spending our money on medications for chronic illnesses.

One of my main goals in health coaching is to demystify healthy eating. It isn’t expensive, it isn’t complicated, and you don’t have to deprive yourself of delicious food. If I can do it, anyone can!

Happy Eating!

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