“You are what you eat” and “you get what you pay for” are two often used expressions. Not only are they both true on their own, but when it comes to food, you really “are” the food that you are willing to pay for.
According to a recent article I read (which I won’t link because the angle of the article was totally offensive to me), in the 50s, people used to spend a quarter of their income on food. These days, it’s a fraction of that. Cheap and plentiful is the objective whether it be clothes, food, cosmetics. We save our money by buying cheap, junky items so that we can buy more cheap, junky items. I speak from experience having shelled out money in the past on such items.
When I talk about cheap food, I’m referring to the “2 for $5” burger deals and shawarmas for $3. It’s also the poor quality processed food that lines grocery store shelves. We have to stop and think about what this food is offering us. Our bodies are designed to extract nutrition from any food source – regardless of quality. But that said this is a survival mechanism and not one of thriving.
When I talk to clients about the quality of the food they consume, I compare it to housing. Yes, you could pay less for a house or apartment than you do now. But where would you be living? Would you feel safe in your neighbourhood? Would your house be place where you enjoy being?
It’s the same as your food. Feeling great after a meal – not bloated and uncomfortable, having a strong immune system and radiant skin are some of the returns you get on your food investment.
So how do you prioritize your grocery bill? It depends on where you are starting.
If you are eating processed carbs like white bread and pasta, you can begin by spending a little extra and including more whole grains in your diet. Give your bread an upgrade with the whole grain version. Buy the whole wheat or multigrain pasta. You can also replace some of these carbs with frozen vegetables or inexpensive fruit like apples and bananas.
If love to grab food on the go, replace the lower cost fare with healthier options like take out salada, hot bar items at your grocery store or sandwiches with non-processed ingredients and whole grain bread.
For those eating a whole foods diet already but want to get the maximum nutrition for their food buck, check out the dirty dozen created by the Environmental Working Group which shows which vegetables and fruits you should buy organic and which ones are safe to purchase that have been conventionally raised. If you’re considering grass-fed meats, check out your local farms and see which ones sell in bulk. It’s often just a little more than buying conventionally raised meat but is worth the investment.
Spend as much as you can afford on food. Not only are you worth it, but it’ll save you in the long run when you are enjoying vibrant health later in life.