Wednesday, July 30, 2014

When Saving Money Isn't Saving At All

One thing I have noticed time and time again while reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette is that Amy Dacyczyn fed her family a lot of refined grains and sugar. I'm not criticizing her; she was writing 20 years ago and she did say that her doctor considered her and Jim healthy.

No, I mention it because the prices that she quotes in her newsletters and books seem very low to me, not only because she bargain shops for them, but because whole foods can cost more. Whole grain flours cost more than refined white flour, brown rice costs more than white rice, honey and unrefined sugars cost more than white and regular brown sugars, extra virgin olive oil (or other healthy oils) costs more than regular refined vegetable oil, whole grain pasta costs more than white flour pasta,   organic whole wheat loaves of bread made without preservatives cost more than bakery thrift store bread, etc.

One thing my friends and I discuss in depth is the idea of spending what we need to spend to feed our families whole foods (organic or not) and copious amounts of produce. Choosing to never buy processed foods adds to the grocery bill. But we do it for what I feel is a very good reason - our health.

I believe in food and its ability to hurt or heal us. I don't think that blood pressure and cholesterol numbers are enough to define good health; half of all heart attack patients do not have high cholesterol.

I'm not going to decree one whole foods based diet to be better than another (although I have strong reservations about dairy and the protein casein specifically). I'm not saying that everyone should eat a plant-based diet. But I don't think it is going too far to say that everyone should stop eating processed foods and fake foods. No one should eat artificial colors and flavors; why do we even have them? When did someone decide that this was good for humans? I don't think they did; I think it is good for corporation bank accounts and nothing more. No one should eat artificial preservations, or growth hormones, or fake fats. No one should eat hydrogenated oils, white flour, or white sugar.

I think people need to understand that we can't take everything good out of our food by refining it, and then think we get it all back by taking synthetic vitamins; I don't even like natural vitamins as I think vitamins and minerals do their best for the human body when they are eaten the context of the whole food they are part of.

I think that people need to learn the dangers of sugar and how high sugar consumption negatively affects health in so many ways.

I think people should research GMOs and make decisions for themselves about their safety or lack thereof. I err on the side of caution. I do think we deserve to know if there are GMOs in our food.

I think people should know that vegetables should be our main food source and that we should eat plenty of vegetables, greens, and fruit daily.

I could save lots of money on groceries; eating plant-based I'm sure I could come in far below the USDA thrifty guidelines. We could eat white pasta, white rice, and white bread bought at bargain prices. I could chase down those deals for free chips, free sodas, and free candy. But the money we save now would catch up with us at some point.

I want to be vibrantly healthy for as long as I can. I want my cells to switch off cancer and I want my arteries to be supple and my blood to flow freely. I want my brain to be free of plaques. I want as little inflammation in my body as is possible.

The way I see it, we can pay now for the foods that are absolutely healthiest, or we can pay later with poor health and high doctor bills.

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