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The High Price Of Cheap Food

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I'm all for cutting corners in the right places to save waste, time and money, but not when it comes to your health. This includes purchasing the best health insurance you can afford, finding doctors and a health facility you trust, making sure your home and environment are toxin-free, and following an optimum eating, hydrating and exercise regimen. You can be proactive about all of these or learn the hard way.

The good news is you don't have to spend a lot of time and money to make healthy changes. Diet and exercise are two of the simplest and most cost-effective. While there are many factors to your health you cannot control such as genetics, you have many choices with the foods you eat for your health. The American Institute of Cancer Research estimates that 340,000 causes of cancer in the U.S. would be prevented simply by eating healthier, moving more and maintaining a healthy weight.

Why waste money on food that is bad for you when you can spend it on better food? Some say it's a matter of saving time. Packaged foods are easier to prepare. Others say it's a matter of saving money. Organic foods cost more. For some it's a matter of accessibility. Fresh fruits and vegetables are harder to find in some communities where local food shopping is done in a convenience store.

But you are not really saving when it is a cost to your health. Most processed foods contain high amounts of one of more of the big "S" bombs: sugar, sodium and saturated fat. Consumed in excess they can lead to a myriad of problems, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure. cancer and other chronic diseases.

What's even more frustrating is much of the cheap food is being peddled by facilities we trust for our well-being. I'll never understand why hospitals and health care centers serve such poor quality food to the people they are helping to heal. I'll never understand why schools have vending machines filled with junk food and sodas for young people to purchase. And why do food manufacturers get away with producing and marketing foods that are clearly unhealthy when consumed in excess, while the government requires a health warning label for a bottle of wine?

Of course, as long as people buy the junk, companies will make the junk. Changing a system is a lot harder than changing your own habits. The reality is, there is a high cost to buying cheap food. Poor health comes at a big price: diminished quality of life, fatigue and stress for you and your family, lack of productivity, lost days of work and/or income, canceled plans and expensive medical bills.

You never fully know how valuable your health is until you lose it.