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Can You Afford Not to Eat Healthy?

April 3, 2012

How can you afford to have a healthy diet? Maybe the question should be, how can you afford not to?

Increasing the cost of what they pay for groceries seems to be a big sticking point for many people I talk to. In theory, they may want to eat better, either for their own health reasons or because a doctor encouraged them to. But when it comes right down to it, most folks still look to pinch pennies at the checkout, even though they can afford to splurge on something else, like a new car or a spring trip to Paris. It’s where you put your priorities. The fact is, though, you can eat more healthfully than you think if you put a little extra effort into it.

Gasp! Effort?! Into food?!

Yes, food. Amazing, huh? Something you put into your body three or more times a day, and even if we can afford to buy quality, many of us don’t.

First of all, examine where you shop. I was just at the Pittsburgh Public Market on Saturday, and was amazed at how much great food you could buy there, fairly inexpensively: organic vegetables and grains, premium olive oil, fresh milk, cheese and eggs, and locally raised meat. One vendor had the most beautiful dried beans I’ve ever seen – they looked like tiny works of art. I bought a huge bag of rolled spelt for $3 from Clarion River Organics, and have started using it just like oatmeal. Did I know what to do with spelt before Saturday? No, but I decided to take it on faith. Turns out it’s an ancient grain with a sweet, nutty flavor.

Another good year-round venue is the East Liberty Farmers Market on N. Sheridan Avenue. Again, you’ll find fresh eggs, olive oil, micro-greens, local meat, Amish-made cheeses and other great stuff. No, it’s not Giant Eagle. But think outside the processed food box, people. Go outside your comfort zone. You just might find something really delicious.

It’s spring in Pittsburgh, and the outdoor farmers markets will be starting up again soon. From May to November, you can find deals on local produce and other great foods. It does mean getting up early. But here’s the pay-off: when I go to the Firehouse Market in the Strip District, I usually walk away with a big bag of fresh, local produce for about $5 or $6.

Think about it. Have you gained pounds you can’t seem to shed? Is your cholesterol higher than your doctor would like? Are your blood sugar levels inching up?

Can you afford not to have a healthy diet?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2012 10:30 am

    Fresh food from the farm is not necessarily more expensive. Probably the hardest things are that it takes more time to get that food and then go shopping for other items AND you need to be willing to cook. I am appalled at how many people buy prepared meals high in fat and salt and chemicals and pop it into the microwave or go to fast food for their meals. Sad sad sad. We stopped teaching home ec in schools and now so many people do not learn to cook.

  2. April 3, 2012 2:00 pm

    It’s true — many people I talk to are afraid they don’t know how to cook. I didn’t have Home Ec in school — it wasn’t considered “academic” enough! — so I had to play catch-up by reading cookbooks.

  3. April 4, 2012 10:40 pm

    And the best part about cooking real food is that it is fun!!

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