A common misconception is that eating healthy is more expensive. And, certainly if you look at it as just the cost of food, taking the cheapest junk and processed food compared to a head of broccoli, it is. However, there is much more to the total cost of the food than just the price.
Let’s look at not just the food cost but also the real cost impact of fast and processed foods and healthy foods. Having been a very sick and obese man and Gwen (my wife) dealing with the effects of fibromyalgia and its symptoms over 11 years ago, I can give you first hand knowledge of the cost differential between cheep fast food and a sedentary lifestyle and a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Our diet was consistently the Standard America Diet of fast food, processed foods, refined foods and fried foods. We were also very sedentary people. I was over 450 pounds with multiple health conditions and multiple medications. Gwen was very sick and under the care of 3 doctors and taking 7 medications.
I began my health revolution in November of 2006 (I must have been crazy to start a new lifestyle journey during the peak of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and party season) and shortly afterwards Gwen jumped on board the wellness train with me.
In 2006, Gwen and I had out-of-pocket medical cost exceeding $13,000.00, this is after insurance coverage. This was for medical expenses and prescriptions. These cost did not include surgeries or non-routine charges.
In 2007, our out-of-pocket medical expenses dropped to less than $7,000.00. In 2008, our out-of-pocket medical expenses dropped to a little over $3,000.00. Our total medical cost for 2009 dropped to less than $1000.00 and has been under $500 per year since (less cost for my bicycling accident). Now we have yearly physicals and routine Chiropractic visits, that’s all.
If we had continued our unhealthy lifestyle, odds are our conditions would have worsened and required even more medical expenses. Lets do the math, $13,000.00 over 11 years is $143,000.00 less an estimated $700.00 per year for yearly medical expenses. Our new healthy lifestyle gave us a total medical savings of (drum roll) $135.300.00 over 11 years. The real kicker, our food cost also went down because we stopped buying so much meat and dairy which are the most expensive grocery items.
Why did our medical cost go down?
Our diet and lifestyle change reduced our need for emergency doctor visits, routine doctors appointments, medications, monthly and quarterly blood test and scans of different sorts. The healthier we ate and the more active we became the less we needed doctors and drugs. It’s that simple. The nutrients in healthy foods fixed the root cause of the symptoms we needed medications for. By minimizing the intake of toxic and inflammatory chemicals in fast and processed foods our body could use the bounty of nutrition from real foods and begin repairing our broken bodies. We didn’t have deficiencies in chemicals or medication we had deficiencies in nutrition and activity.
Meat is the most expensive item in your shopping cart. If you just cut your consumption of meat in half and replaced with legumes (beans, pea’s and lentils) you would save a lot of money. When Gwen (my wife) and I changed our diet many years ago we cut our grocery bill in half just by cutting out so much meat. This meant we could buy a lot more veggies, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds for the same amount of money. The bonus is the extra plant-based foods made us much healthier. Today, we have a diet that is at least 95% plant-based.
Part 2 –Why does healthy food look to be more expensive? Why is unhealthy food so cheap? You have an enemy working to keep you sick.
Wally Bishop C.N.C., I.N.H.C.
The contents of the email or written communication are not medical advice and should not be considered as such! This blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with your physician or health care provider if you have medical issues and before changing your diet or lifestyle or taking herbal or dietary supplements. Never start an exercise program with getting your doctors approval. Never quit taking medications unless advised to do so by your doctor. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.