The harsh reality is that eating healthy is a privilege. This fact has been weighing heavy on my heart. It is a passion of mine to help people make better food choices and support food companies that are actually doing it right! But the fact remains that an estimated 11% of the world population is starving and 23.5 million people live in food deserts, geographic areas where access to healthy and affordable food is limited or completely non-existent.
What's even more devastating is that food insecurity has a high correlation with increased diabetes rates. In Chicago, the death rate from diabetes in a food desert is twice that of areas with access to grocery stores. (Source) Want to see where food deserts exist, click here .
A fundamental reason that many don’t have access to healthy food is a consequence of the backwards food policies we have in place. Couple this with living in the time of a pandemic, healthy food is becoming increasingly expensive.
We also must see how Big Food companies that contribute to poor health by racial marketing strategies and disregard to their products ill health effects. Multinational Multi-national food and beverage companies have been a driving force in the increase in the global consumption of processed foods that contain large amounts of salt, sugar, and fat, as well as in the growing consumption of soft drinks and other sweetened beverages. They specifically target low-income people with sly marketing strategies.
Did you know soda is the top item purchased by SNAP (Food stamps)? Some other most bought items are bag snacks, candy, frozen pizza, and cereal. A 2018 study published in the American Journal of Preventative medicine, found that there were higher odds of in-store soda marketing during SNAP benefit issuance days (first to ninth days of the month), compared with other days of the month. You can access article here.
Fast-food chains also disproportionately target black children. Another study published in 2015, also in the AJPM, found that Fast food restaurants in predominantly black neighborhoods were about 67 percent more likely to use child-directed marketing than those in white neighborhoods. Access article here.
This is a growing systematic problem here in the US. High calorie, low nutrient, and disease-linked concoctions are the main item purchased by AND marketed to low-income families.
I truly believe access to healthy food is a right, not a privilege. Up until now, many of us are questioning our very own beliefs about the world and it’s systems that work against so many people. These systems are broken because what once was created to help people become overridden by profit and greed.
What is even crazier is that a study published in 2013 by the British Medical Journal revealed that healthy food is about $1.50 more expensive per day than unhealthy food.
An article, by Harvard School of Public Health, reporting on this meta analysis, states:
"The researchers suggested that unhealthy diets may cost less because food policies have focused on the production of “inexpensive, high volume” commodities, which has led to “a complex network of farming, storage, transportation, processing, manufacturing, and marketing capabilities that favor sales of highly processed food products for maximal industry profit.” Given this reality, they said that creating a similar infrastructure to support production of healthier foods might help increase availability—and reduce the prices—of more healthful diets." Source
Our focus should be on creating increase availability of healthy foods to lower-income families along with nutritional education! The lack of education and access is a recipe for disaster! Our country is getting sicker each passing day!
In hopes to make some difference today, I want to provide a few tips I use to eat healthy without breaking the bank. Although, these tips do not solve any food desert issues, what they can do it help those that wish to make better dietary decisions and work within their budget.
Here are my top tips on eating healthy on a budget:
For many people the though of investing in their food is absurd. The thing is when you invest now, you save SO MUCH MONEY in on healthcare costs. Medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy in our country!
How do you eat healthy on a budget? I'd love to know! Please share!
If you want more tips and tricks on how to eat healthy, check out 14 day Gut Reset Program! You'll get the basics on how to implement healthy habits today that increase gut health and ultimately IMMUNE HEALTH!
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