Thursday, July 07, 2005

Cheap Food or Health - It's Your Choice

Did you know that we, in the United States, spend less money from our disposable income on our food than any other country in the world? The Living section of the Wichita Eagle yesterday asked, Food is cheap, but are we getting our money's worth?

Americans spend 10 percent of our disposable income on food. It's no surprise that residents of poorer countries spend much more -- 33 percent in Mexico, for instance. But the residents of several relatively prosperous nations spend quite a bit more as well -- such as Japan, at 26 percent, and Italy, 23 percent.

From the report, Money Income in the United States, for a family of four, this works out to about $4225 a year for food, $81.25 per week, $11.60 a day, or just $2.90 per person per day.

Now I know some reading this spend more and some spend less - these numbers are just "averages" based on data from the Census Bureau for an average family of four in the United States.

Regardless of how much you spend on food, the question must be asked - Is the food you are buying cheap today going to cost you more later?

Forget about "later" it's already costing you, me, us - a lot more today!

Think about this - today we spend $4,631 per person for healthcare expenditures in the United States - for a family of four that is $18,524 - more than 4-times what a family spends on food.

Want to know where the United States ranks first in the world? (
  • Grain consumption
  • Soft Drink Consumption
  • Banana imports
  • Healthcare expenditure per person
  • Overweight and Obesity
  • Mortality/Death - to name just a few - Acute myocardial infarction, Acute renal failure, Chronic ischaemic heart disease, Deficiency of other B group vitamins, Folate deficiency anaemia, Hypertensive heart and renal disease, Hypertensive heart disease, Hypertensive renal disease, Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, Intestinal malabsorption, Malignant immunoproliferative diseases, Obesity, Stroke, not specified as haemorrhage or infarction, Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia
  • Prescription drug use, with an estimated 50% of the population taking one or more prescription drugs

And, where do we rank second?

  • Corn Consumption
  • Added Sugar Consumption
  • Mortality/Death - to name just a few - Deficiency of other nutrient elements, Dietary selenium deficiency, Heart failure, Iron deficiency anaemia, Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
Even more startling - while the life expectancy of a woman in the United States is currently 80-years, she will enjoy "good health" for only 68.8 of those years; men with a life expectancy of 74.3-years will enjoy "good health" for only 67.6 of those years. In other words, on average, women will endure 11.2-years of "ill health" and men will endure 6.7-years of "ill-health."

How do you want to spend your golden years - in good health or years in a state of ill-health?

You have a powerful influence on your long-term health - the food you buy and eat each day - you really are what you eat! What you spend today on your food may have a significant impact on what you have to spend later on healthcare costs while suffering years of "ill-health" that may have been averted by four things:
  • Eliminating sodas and anything else sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) from your diet
  • Eliminating as many processed foods from your diet as possible
  • Eliminating all man-made trans-fat from your diet (anything with "partially hydrogenated" or "fractionated" oils in the ingredients, even if the package claims "no trans-fats")
  • Learning to cook to prepare most of your meals

You don't necessarily have to spend more money on food to do this, although initally you will have to spend more time reading labels for ingredients and getting adept in the kitchen!

When you're not buying soda, chips, cakes, candy, baked goods, french fries, white bread, processed cheese food, imitation creamer, margarine, shortening, etc., you have that money to spend on fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits, fish, poultry, natural cheese, legumes, meat, natural fats and oils, nuts and seeds, and a wide-range of other real, whole foods.

This does not mean you can never have a brownie again - make them from scratch with real ingredients - butter, pecans/walnuts, brown sugar, baking powder and unbromated, whole wheat flour is all that you need for homemade brownies...that and 30 minutes.

This does not mean you can never have french fries again - make them from scratch - a couple of white potatoes and unrefined peanut oil that you use once and toss and a dash of salt is all you need...that and 15 minutes. I do not, however, recommend making french fries a staple in your diet.

You may be thinking, I don't have time to cook! Well, you can take the time now, or use those 6.7 to 11.2 years in ill-health wishing you made the time, wishing you'd had the foresight to see long-term good health as "convenient" instead of that frozen pizza you microwaved for dinner on July 7, 2005.

1 comment:

  1. Regina,
    I agree with what you're saying, you think you could send some of your brownies my way? :-)
    That recipe sure sounds good! LOL

    Man, I wish I could shop at the 'Whole Foods' market ALL the time, but unfortunately, they are indeed WAY expensive. (I know that's not what your article was about--just thought I'd rant about the fact that better food is indeed much more expensive)

    Take care,