February 23, 2011

What's the Price for a Healthy Lifestyle?

If you have been able to sit through a news report without crying lately, you will have heard the price of living is going up....waaaaaay up! Food prices are going to increase as soon as next week, gas prices are going up by the weekend, and (if you are a BC resident) BC Hydro is going to increase their price up to 50% over the next 6 years.

So how does this relate to lifestyle change? It has everything to do with lifestyle change because our lifestyles (assuming money isn't coming out of your pours) will be changing whether we like it or not. Now, more than ever, I will be hearing the woes of eating a diet rich in vegetables because of the cost. It is too expensive to eat healthy. But does eating and living well really come with a high price tag? Are we sentenced to a life of Kraft Dinner and Coke because we won't be able to afford anything else? Certainly not.

Personally, I find the news of rising costs rather motivating as it drives me to continue to eat a wide variety of vegetables and (try to) limit the usual North American menu including; red meat, refined flour, sugar, and lotsa saturated fats (not to mention the food-like products loaded with chemicals and other crazy stuff). So is eating healthy more expensive? Let's face it, if a family of four is eating red meat every night and paying those crazy prices for boxed cereal, pizza pops, lunchables, yogurt tubes, and other processed foods your bill will definitely not be able to support the higher cost of produce. BUT...remove the processed stuff and lower the amount of red meat during the week and you have made it work (maybe even saving yourself a few bucks in the process). 

Believe me, it doesn't have to be like this.
So if we know that a shift in diet is good for us, isn't this the best time to start making the move towards healthy eating? If veggies and other produce are going to go up in cost don't steer your cart away from the produce section, avoid the aisles in the middle. Get rid of the $10 box of cereal and start eating oatmeal for breakfast. Walk past the meat section and try a few protein alternatives such as Quinoa, tofu, and legumes/beans. By planning your menu for the week (and I can't stress enough the importance of this to, not only help you eat better, but to save money on the stuff that seduces you in the store without a plan of action) you can plan for meals that include these alternatives. I just recently learned how to make Quinoa burgers. They are easy and extremely good for you (log onto http://bethsjourney.com for the recipe). Combine them with yam fries and veggies on the side and you have a  fabulous (and relatively easy) dinner.

With prices rising, it will be very easy to turn to the faster food options in the short term. Unfortunately, in the long term, living off processed foods may lead to overweight/obesity, chronic disease, increased stress, decreased sleep, decreased motivation, and increased feelings of overall crappiness. By starting to make a few little changes now, you may be ready for it when the prices really hit hard...it is only a matter of time.

I do recommend two books if you are interested in more information about healthy, clean eating. These books changed the way I ate and I continue to refer to them as I move forward and add more veggies to my diet.

I have mentioned this book before and continue to strongly recommend it to those just starting to consider a change in eating behaviour. The author has been highlighted in the documentary, "Food Inc."

I started reading this book when I hated veggies. This author motivated me to care about vegetables and make the effort to try many I had never tried before. Now I eat kale, swiss chard, and bok choy almost every day and am loving it (I always thought kale and swiss chard was intimidating and had no idea how to use it - you can add it to anything and it tastes great).












"Food Rules" came out of "In Defense of Food" and is a very easy read. It details some simple rules to follow when changing your eating habits. My favorite rule is "Don't eat a food that your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food". It's simple and can be used as a reference book when you need reminders of why you are choosing leafy greens over french fries (God knows I need reminding at times).



That's all I have for now.
Thanks for reading.
K

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