Finding Golden Health at the End of the Nutrition Rainbow
by Steven Horne, RH(AHG)
In today’s economy many people are wishing they could find their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but while we all need some of the “green stuff” to obtain the things we need in modern society, monetary wealth doesn’t do us any good if we don’t have our health.
What’s the point of accumulating a large retirement fund if you die of a heart attack or cancer at an early age? How much happiness will a large home provide us if our loved ones are ill? What’s the point of having the ability to buy things you enjoy if you’re in too much pain to enjoy them?
Furthermore, good health isn’t a matter of luck. It’s mostly a matter of living a healthy lifestyle and a big part of that is eating a healthy diet. That’s why spending some of our “green” on good food is one of the most important investments we can make.
The famous natural healer, Dr. Bernard Jensen, told people to invest money in good food because if they didn’t, they’d be spending it in doctor bills. Good advice, but some people may feel that their current economic situation means they can’t afford to eat healthy. My answer to this is that it’s less expensive to eat healthy than it is to eat the typical American “junk food” diet, and it’s not just the savings you’ll make on future medical bills.
Eating Healthier Will Save You Money
The truth is that you can reduce the size of your grocery budget by learning to eat healthier. Many years ago, some friends were telling me that it was too expensive to eat healthy. I said it wasn’t and we compared money being spent on grocery bills. Our families were the same size, but we were spending less.
Part of the reason this happens is because food isn’t just about volume or calories; it’s also about nutritional density. A loaf of whole grain bread may cost more than a loaf of cheap white bread, but it is also more nutritionally dense. That means you’ll eat a lot of white bread and still not feel satisfied, while a couple of slices of whole grain bread will really fill you up.
Furthermore, the biggest bite to the grocery budget is convenience foods like soda pop, potato chips, corn chips, instant breakfast cereals, frozen TV dinners and canned foods. Health food stores have created healthier versions of these convenience foods (which I fondly call “health food, junk food”), and yes, if you start buying health food store convenience foods, it will send your food budget skyrocketing. But, that’s not what I’m referring to here. I’m referring to real food, natural food, food that hasn’t been processed, food that actually needs to be cooked.
Opps! Did I say the C-word? Cooking? It’s actually quite amazing to me how many people in modern society don’t know how to cook. It seems to me that being able to prepare food is a basic life-survival skill. Unfortunately, its something that many people just don’t know how to do, and if they do, they often don’t know how to make healthier versions of their favorite foods.
With the current economic situation it’s time for many families to relearn the value of a home-cooked meal. When you make food with fresh, natural ingredients it’s not only more nutritious, it tastes better.
Shopping for Better Health
Anyway, here are some basic tips for improving your nutrition and saving money at the same time. First, when you shop for groceries, start with the produce section and purchase the bulk of your food there. If you can’t afford organic produce, don’t worry about it. Just buy the freshest produce you can find. Seasonal, locally-grown produce can actually be nutritionally superior to organic produce that spends two weeks getting to your supermarket shelf.
Fruits and vegetables don’t cost much when compared to processed foods, so you’re going to save money right there. Plus, the flavor of fresh produce is much better than anything canned or frozen.
Also look for whole grains, bulk beans and nuts and seeds. These foods are inexpensive powerhouses of nutrition when prepared properly. You can finish your shopping trip in the meat and dairy section finding whatever proteins you prefer.
In many religious traditions white is a sign of purity, but when it comes to nutrition, white is generally a sign of evil. Avoid white flour, refined sugar, commercial white salt, shortening and margarine (which is simply dyed to give it color). Instead, eat the rainbow. Look for food that is colorful and varied. Different colors signify the presence of different minerals and nutrients, so eating colorful foods will enhance your nutritional intake.
Skip the canned and pre-packaged foods in general. Don’t buy soda pop, fruit juice or “energy” drinks. Drink water instead. Also, avoid chips, candy, pastries and other empty calorie foods. These are empty calorie foods. They don’t give you nutrition, they just give you calories and make you fat. If you want some treats, learn how to make your own with whole grains and natural sugars.
If you aren’t used to preparing natural foods, its time to start learning. Invest in some good cookbooks and maybe watch some cooking shows on TV (one of my personal favorites is Good Eats). In particular, I suggest investing in some vegetarian cookbooks, not because I’m suggesting you should become a vegetarian, but because most cookbooks make meat the star of the meal. To be healthier, you want to learn how to make vegetables the stars of your meals and meat the side dish. Neither you or your family will like eating vegetables if you don’t know how to make them tasty. Vegetarian cookbooks should give you a lot of ideas on how to do this.
I have a lot more to say on this subject, but its going to have to wait for future newsletters, as I’m out of space. But, I do want to end by telling you that this month, I’m on a mission to help families eat healthier and save money. So, I’m teaching a two-hour webinar called Eat Healthy; Save Money on March 29. You can attend this webinar for free and get a 14-page recipe book as well when you purchase this month’s DVD, Feed Your Family Right.
Next week I’ll talk about basic supplementation. But, it’s important to remember that supplements are exactly that—supplements. They are meant to supplement a healthy diet, not replace it. So, if you don’t know how to shop for and prepare healthy, natural foods, it’s time to start learning so can find that pot of golden health at the end of the nutrition rainbow.