This post is a follow-up to You Are What You Eat, Eats (Part 1). In this blog, we began an important discussion about the food that our food eats.
It is not enough to eat food that is “healthy”; you must also look at how that food was raised/grown to make sure that we are truly deriving the most nutrients possible from what we eat.
Last time I focused mostly on meat, and how the feed provided to commercially-raised animals is anything but optimal. Cows and other ruminants are most affected by this because they are not designed to eat the most abundant food source provided to them: corn.
Other animals are also negatively affected when not given proper feed, so be sure to know what food your animals eat before you put it on your plate.
To continue our discussion, we turn our focus to our other main food source: plants.
Plants are a vital part of any healthful diet, but often the plants that we eat are poorly grown and void of many nutrients that our bodies need.
Plants Need Food, Too
While plant products are not subjected to the grain overload that most farm-raised animals have received, plant health has not fared much better.
With a combination of poor topsoil and an overload of chemicals, our plants have been drained of a majority of their nutrients. Many plants are picked early and ripened with chemicals as they ship. Others are doused so heavily in pesticide that they have no ability to grow to their full potential.
With few nutrients coming from the ground, and chemicals coming from the sky, plants just are not what they used to be.
While I would like to say that organic is our saving grace, I am sorry to report that organic food is a toss-up.
When you buy organic, you may be selecting something that was grown in better conditions, but you may just be eating the same food in a different package.
Companies know that people are moving toward organic products, so they are looking for ways to cash in without raising costs. The market is poorly regulated and many times the word “organic” does not mean much.
What does mean something is talking with farmers at your local farmers’ market.
If you have a local farmer that you know, it is much more likely that you will get the whole story.
Choosing produce sold at farmers’ markets also saves on transportation, as well as ensuring that there is less time between harvest and eating.
There is a loss of nutrients the longer a plant has been out of the earth, so the shorter the travel time, the better off you will be.
If you cannot get to a farmers’ market, I will say that if you can find food items with a USDA Certified Organic logo, you have the best chance of actually eating organically grown items. By contrast, terms such as “natural”, “cage-free”, and “vegetarian-fed” do not offer much help.
The food industry works hard to confuse the public by using key phrases that seem beneficial, but really have no bearing on the quality of the food item. USDA Organic is as good as you will get.
The Cost of Health
For many people, eating well is often at odds with other priorities in their lives. Two of the most common areas of concern are the increased cost and time associated with eating healthily.
The cost will always be higher for foods that have been raised/grown properly and with quality feed. You cannot subsidize topsoil and green grass, so the cost of production will inherently be higher.
You will also find that you have less time available to you when your food becomes a priority.
Between the time spent purchasing (multiple trips per week, multiple locations) and the time spent preparing (it is hard to stay healthy when you eat out a lot) you may be devoting an extra 30-90 minutes per day to eating well.
There are clearly reasons why it can be hard to change what you eat, but as with all health-related topics, it all comes down to your goals.
The reality is that we will all spend time and money on our health. If you spend a little extra now on food, keep active, cook your own food, and sleep well, you will enjoy a certain quality of life which will stay pretty consistent into old age.
If you wait to act, you may have more time and money now for entertainment, relaxation, or work, but at some point you will be spending more time in the doctor’s office, at the hospital, recovering from injury, taking sick days, and being generally limited in what you are capable of doing.
All of these will cost a lot of money too, so it’s up to you: Do you choose now or later?
This is not always an easy choice to make, but just having the conversation is a great place to start.
We often like to put off our health until later, but later is often too late. You cannot medicate or operate your way back to full function.
Once your body starts to fail, only a long, slow progression of significant lifestyle changes can help you get back on the right track, but many times even this is not enough.
And it will turn out that you will be spending more money on food and exercise, while ALSO spending it on health care.
So again: Now or later? It will cost you time, it will cost you money (probably more of both, the longer you wait), but only you can make that choice.
How to Get Started
If you know you need to start making your health a priority, but are not sure where to start, I invite you to check out our 28-Day Kickstart Program.
This is our holistic fitness program where you will get the exact exercises and diet you need to start feeling better while having a coach to show you how to do them correctly and keep you accountable to your plan.
In this program you will get:
- Full fitness and goals assessment
- Personalized fitness coaching to teach you the exact exercises you need to safely and effectively move better and build stamina
- A simple meal plan to help you decrease inflammation
- 1-on-1 success coaching to help guide you as you work to change your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits
You can move and feel better, you just need a program that can show you what is right for you.
Click here to learn more and take back control of your health and fitness today!
Mint Condition Fitness empowers people to take control of their fitness and fully enjoy the life they have built.