Why Does it Cost More to Eat Healthy?
“It’s such a shame to have to pay more money to eat healthy.” I heard this the other day and have seen it countless times on social media. Now, I arguably have a vested interest in the price of organics and fair rates for food; it is my livelihood after all. I know firsthand the time, energy, resources and effort it takes to produce food in uncertain conditions (both the market and the weather).
But is it really such a shame to pay more for organic food? If eating organic is important to you, then isn’t it just paying for what it’s worth to you? Can we all agree eating is kind of... I dunno... IMPORTANT? I think we can all agree that eating healthy is also important. One of those things that should be right up there with paying your mortgage and getting a good night sleep?
I once heard David Suzuki speak about how big business and government may not think that the environment is important, but it is the environment that gives us the ability to have big business and government. It is that very thing we are dismissing as unimportant to spend money on (the environment) that is what is giving us the ability to even have the conversation about what to spend money on!
I think there's a clear parallel here to food and our health. If we do not take care of the vehicle (our bodies) through which we experience the world, the vehicle will stop taking care of us, and stop allowing us to experience the joy of laughter, of play, of nature, of walking, of hugging your children, of being able to enjoy a lovely meal, a swim in the ocean. I’m going to be very blunt here and say that cancer doesn’t happen overnight. We’ve been lead to believe it can occur in healthy people and that it’s just genetics. As my naturopath puts it, “Genetics only takes over when you’ve left all the other factors to fend for themselves.” You don’t wake up one day and have cancer, IBS, diabetes, high blood pressure, adrenal fatigue or arthritis. You just don’t.
My father said to me one time, “Do those big-scale farmers who use synthetic fertilizers and GMO crops know that the soil is not just for holding the plant up?” I had to laugh because it’s not that far off. We forget that we need to take care of the soil because that is where the nutrients in our food come from, and we need them to take care of our bodies because that is where the energy and ability to enjoy life comes from. As Suzuki says, you can’t ignore the thing that gives you the ability to drive your cars and watch your favourite movies. You need to take care of the environment which allows you to even be discussing these things.
Back to why we have to pay more to eat healthily. We’ve lived in a world where food is heavily subsidized and farmers take the brunt of cost savings and making food affordable, and all the profits are kept in the middle of elaborate distribution channels that make it easy to get food at your front door, or in a giant grocery store. So I question whether we’re actually paying more for healthy and organic food, or just entering an age of the real cost of food.
More is a relative statement, after all, and we need to question what we're comparing it to. Is it more than it was before? Is it more than its unhealthy, mass-produced, nutrient-deficient counterparts? Is it more relative to the other costs of living? If your life was a business, you’d stop and evaluate where you are spending your profits and see which area is of utmost importance to give you the best chance to continue to do business in the future. Maybe it’s time to sit down and really evaluate what those core important areas are in your life.