According to statistics, Americans spend only 5.5% of their disposable income on food. This figure is in stark contrast to other countries, which spend over double this amount. Despite the fact that American food is the cheapest in the world, we’re certainly not getting a bargain, at least not when it comes to our health.
I was making up a budget last year and had to laugh when I took a good look at the pie chart. Literally ALL of my money goes to food. I’m not kidding. It’s priority number 1. Why? Because over a decade ago, I didn’t know anything about food, diet, or nutrition. I was sick every single day with stomachaches, muscle aches, brain fog, sinus congestion, and mental health problems that wouldn’t go away.
I went to doctor after doctor trying to figure out what was wrong with me and was eventually told it was “all in my head”. No, it wasn’t in my head. I was intolerant to a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye called gluten. I, like 1 in every 100 people am completely intolerant to this protein.
Once I discovered how healthy I could feel once I cut gluten from my diet, I started really investigating the complete connection between food and health.
We Eat Food-Like-Products, Not Food
I was chatting with a young girl one day and I mentioned processed food. She didn’t know what it was. I don’t know why I was surprised. Millions of people think food is food. They don’t know there’s a difference between healthy, wholesome nutrition and synthetic chemicals that fill the gut and temporarily turn off hunger pangs.
There’s a huge difference.
Food-like products such as cookies, snack cakes, crackers, donuts, and candy have no real nutritional value. You can tell as soon as you turn them over and look at the food label. There you’ll find artificial colors, additives, preservatives, and sweeteners that have been linked to the development of everything from diabetes to cancer.
Food such as organic vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, nuts, meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products contain the vital nutrients your body needs to function. These are the foods human beings have been consuming for centuries. Our food has changed drastically in the past fifty years. So much so our great grandparents wouldn’t even recognize half the stuff on the supermarket shelf.
Gluten-Free, Organic, and GMO-Free Everything
I’ll be the first to admit I’m a bit of a fanatic when it comes to food. I don’t mean to be. It’s just the more I know and understand, the more I realize we’re surrounded by poison. Finding gluten-free, organic, GMO-free food is much harder than you’d think. I shop at least 4 different stores each week to find what I need. One place contains the organic vegetables I need for juicing, the other has the gluten free pasta or organic meat I’m looking for, and one other is the only place I can find wild-caught fish.
As you can imagine, this dedication to eating the cleanest food imaginable hikes my grocery bill up pretty high. But when I go food shopping, I feel like some women feel when they go shopping for a brand new dress. I get giddy when I see grass-fed beef with that $2 “Butcher’s Special” sticker on it or a gluten-free item in the clearance aisle. It’s like Christmas every time.
I also love how I feel that I’m defying the system. Voting with my wallet, small as it may be, and telling the powers that be that I won’t join the rest of the lemmings in that blind jump off the cliff. I won’t continue to shove down food-like products that only hasten my development of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. I won’t be yet another feed-bag for Big Pharma to get fat off of.
Neither should you. If you’re still hitting the drive-thru once or twice a week and have no idea that diet soda is one of the deadliest things you can put into your body, you’re not alone. This information isn’t exactly broadcast on the 6 o-clock news but it’s true. Your food is slowly killing you. If you suffer from any kind of chronic condition or if you have a history of any disease, you could benefit from a dietary change.
This doesn’t mean you should quit junk food cold turkey but it’s important to educate yourself about the stuff you’re putting into your body everyday. The best thing you can do for your health right now is read food labels. The next time you go to the grocery store, really look at the ingredients on the food you’re buying. Can you pronounce them? Do you even know what they are?
Write them down and look them up online. You might be amazed at the information you find.
Spending more of your disposable income on food means you’re making an investment in your future. It’s well worth it when you realize the amount of money you’ll save on doctor visits and prescriptions for preventive illness.
Within a month or two of improving your diet, you’ll just get it and you’ll never want to go back to your old way of eating again!
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