‘I can’t afford healthy food,’ and ‘I don’t have time to cook’ are common first world statements. I get it – life can be busy and challenging – but if you are someone who makes these claims, then ask yourself these questions.
What are your priorities? – Modern daily pressures combined with family commitments and squeezing in some leisure time means that a lot of people do not have time to cook with real food. Ask yourself; ‘what are my priorities?’ I urge you to make your health and wellbeing one of them. Make time to do it. You don’t need to get fancy – whipping up a nutritious stir-fry takes twenty minutes. Can you shuffle around your priorities and put aside a half-hour to cook you and your family a nutritious meal?
Am I over-complicating it? Healthy food has been glorified to include all sorts of exotic tid-bits from around the world, and so people develop a perception that they cannot possibly afford healthy food. Think chia seeds, raw cacao powder, almond meal, coconut flour, apple cider vinegar, acai berries, goji berries, bone broth, coconut oil… and loads more. Yepp, that stuff can get expensive. The beauty? You don’t need these super foods to be healthy! Just keep it basic; eat fruit, vegetables and meat cooked in some good fat with some modest herbs and spices, and you’re away laughing. Try it. Oh, and your palate will come to love the flavours of real food in time… trust me.
What do I actually spend my money on? A lot of people fill their trolley with processed foods because it is cheap. To reference food journalist, Mark Bittman, you are filling your trolley with calories, not nutrition. You starve your body of essential nutrients. You get hungrier and eat more, because your body cannot get truly full by eating processed crap. Your inclination to buy unhealthy snacks and takeaways increases, because you suffer from sudden extreme starvation while you’re out and about. It’s an addiction. You can tell by the way your kids beg you to buy every treat that drifts past their eye-level. You spend more money on vitamin supplements, immune support, medical supplies and bills because your body and mind struggle to stay healthy on your processed food diet. You spend more money on beauty products because your skin, hair and nails just ain’t glowin’ on that processed food diet. Just find a way to fit basic healthy food into your weekly budget and I bet you will reap the benefits financially, physically and mentally.
So, you can’t afford a healthy diet? Can you afford increased medical bills? Can you afford to suffer from cancers, heart diseases and diabetes? Can you afford to lose family members to illness? I acknowledge that I write this post from a position of comfort; I have a semi-constant income stream. I do not have children. I am already healthy. I have a supportive family. I live in the first world (although, this post is written for a first-world audience). I live in a comfortable house. I understand that circumstances are different for everyone.
Next week I will post five dinner recipes that are quick, easy and affordable. I encourage you to do a real food grocery shop, cook the recipes each night, and see how you go. Get into it, and feel great!
A little message at the end: These blog posts are simply to help me process my own learning. I have no medical, health-science-y background… although I am studying towards a diploma of nutritional science, and I do my best to consult reliable research. If you see any info that doesn’t quite look right, then great! Comment away with your thoughts, because I would love to know more.