One of the things I hear most often about changing to a Paleo Lifestyle is that it simply costs too much. A few months back when my family and I were on a trip to the Ouachita Mountains along the Oklahoma/Arkansas border we stopped for supplies at a Wal-Mart (certainly no Trader Joe’s in sight in those parts!) As I was checking out the cashier looked at what I had and said “man you eat healthy…this stuff is way to expensive for me and my family!”. What did I have? Meat and Veggies (and I admit, supplies for Smores over an open fire!) I believe the general trend is to assume it is too expensive, and then it becomes a convenient excuse as to why Paleo is not “possible for me.”
Yes, it is more expensive to eat real food than to fill up on processed food. But, let’s look at this example for a moment. Let’s say you go to the local gas station, and there is a mysterious new pump labeled “Discount Gas.” You read at the pump that the gas is absolutely usable in your car, but that it is probably not good for your car in the “long-term”. Short-term it will get you where you need to go, but over the long haul it may lead to some damage to the inner workings of your engine. The kicker is, this gas is HALF THE PRICE of regular unleaded. So, instead of $1.99 a gallon, you can rock $0.99 a gallon! Many of the people using this gas get by, even for a long time, but no doubt eventually it will lead to your engine’s early demise.
So, what do you do? I believe most of us would say that a car is such a big investment, that its just not worth the risk to use discount gas. We simply depend too much on our vehicles to consider using gas that will hurt it’s engine even if the price is so drastically different. Sure, some don’t care and go for the cheap short-term fix, but most would argue that they just can’t easily replace a car, so the extra for better gas is worth it. If you agree with this statement, but you continue to argue for the inclusion of highly processed, nutrient devoid “discount food” into your diet than you need to rethink your priorities! Think about it, you have more concern for the life of your car engine than for your life!
So, where do you get the extra money to pay for real food? Again, have a priority check. What is more important that your health and the health of your family? What is worth more of an investment than that??
- Does your mortgage have you trapped in a house you should not afford?
- Have you leased a car you should not afford, or are you driving a car that uses too much gas for your own good?
- Do you have a cell phone plan that includes everything under the sun just in case?
- Is your cigarette bill so high that you can’t afford better food?
- Do you chronically overspend to the point you are drowning in credit card bills?
- Do you actually watch 300 channels on your cable?
- Do you eat out so much that you are ashamed to actually tell how much you spend eating out every month?!
These are just a few examples, and I’m sure that most of you could think of more. Now I can hear plenty of people saying “Doc, stick to medicine and don’t tell me how to spend my money.” Trust me, I will, I’m not trying to tell you how to spend your hard-earned dollars. I am simply answering a question I get asked all too often, “How can I afford this.” In so many ways where you spend your money is a direct indication of where you place your priorities in life. If you do not place your health at a high enough premium to be worth more of a monetary investment, it is going to be hard to make real long-term changes. In America for some reason food is something where “going cheap” is perfectly accepted, and in fact the norm for most people. Buy cheap food in order to afford other things. The smell of fresh car leather may be nice, and that bigger iPhone 6 screen may make you the envy of all your friends and co-workers, but trust an internist; when you are older, you will envy your friends who seem to have good health. They avoid the hospital stays, surgeries, doctor visits, and significant medical bills you seem to be suffering with. It’s just like saving for retirement. You can spend it all now and work till you are 80, or give up some earthly possessions now to enjoy your later years with less stress and more free time.
So, the question you should be asking yourself isn’t “How can I afford this,” but instead “How can I NOT afford this.”
Start today, start right now. Change your diet, change your life, and change your health once and for all.
Eat Clean, Be Safe, and Find an Adventure that moves YOU!
Nancy Jones Hayes
February 15, 2015 at 11:50 am
By eating “clean” AND “affordably”, I have learned to like new things. Fresh, organic vegetables in season are much more affordable. I’ve also learned buying the organic choices, I like things that I didn’t like before because they taste so much better. Grass fed meat is probably the most expensive item that I splurge on….however, if you stick to a more reasonable portion of 3-4 oz and pile my plate high with fresh vegetables and salads, I can even stretch those splurges to 3 or 4 meals sometimes. The best part is that I haven’t been to the doctor for anything more than preventative visits in a couple of years….no doctor bills, no medicines added and not feeling sick is a bonus and reward to me for making good choices. I know you probably feel like you are “preaching to the choir” sometimes, Dr. Ernie; but for those of us who “get it”, you are very appreciated. Thank you for all the information that you provide.