Wealthy to Be Healthy?
Q. Is there a way to have a healthy diet and take supplements and still be able to afford to pay the mortgage? I realize that changing to organic foods and taking supplements would probably help me to be much healthier. But I'm no fat cat.
Good question. Sometimes the cost of healthy food, vitamins, and herbs seems overwhelming. But I'd ask you first to try thinking about it a bit differently. Meat is one of the most expensive items on the grocery list. So if you cut way down on meat, you should be able to spend more on healthier fruits and vegetables.
Also, you may have to spend more to give your body the tools it needs for optimum operation. But this is an investment in preventive maintenance - you'll spend less later on in medical bills and enjoy greater well-being right now. Think differently about the way you're spending your money. Echinacea and zinc may seem expensive, but they're quite a bit cheaper than standard cold treatments that do little more than put you to sleep.
And you can moderate your spending in a variety of ways. While fresh salmon is great for you, you can get the same benefits far less expensively with canned sardines. Or you can get your omega-3s from flax seeds, which are as cheap a health food as you can find.
One of the best trends I've seen lately is the decline in price of organic food in areas of the country like California, where the organic agriculture movement is strong. As people support this trend and markets expand, organic produce will probably become even less expensive and more available.
Another welcome development is community-based agriculture. People form co-op groups and contract with farmers to devote some portion of their fields to growing organic produce. The consumers pay a fee, something like US$2,000 to $3,000 a year, and every two weeks they get shipments of organic produce from the farm. The farmers who do this are often able to grow more interesting and unusual varieties, too.
Check out the location of farmers' markets in your area and buy produce in season there. It will cost you a little bit less than in a health-food or grocery store. The markups on vitamins and nutritional supplements are huge. Look for wholesale companies or order by mail. L&H Vitamins in New York ((800) 221 1152) and The Vitamin Shoppe ((800) 223 1216) are good mail-order houses. Price Club and Trader Joe's are also excellent places to buy nutritional supplements at half the price you'd find at a health-food store or a drugstore.
Finally, the most important components of a healthy lifestyle don't involve cost. They involve nurturing yourself spiritually and emotionally, as well as physically. The breathing exercizes I recommend for optimum health are free.