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Your Health & Wellness, Iss #041 -- "Don't Let the Recession Drive You to Eating Cheap Food"
February 23, 2009

(Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle)

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Week of February 22, 2009

Table of Contents

* "Don't Let the Recession Drive You to Eating Cheap Food" *

Don't Let the Recession Drive You to Eating Cheap Food

It is simply human nature to stop 'luxury' spending when there is a financial crisis. This is what individuals and families do when they face economic hardship. How much more is this true when there is a world-wide recession?

Luxury spending might be a gym membership or dining out, or maybe going to the theatre, movies, or concerts. When the financial belt has to be tightened, all non-essentials have to be eliminated, or at least cut back.

But the global recession is so devastating that many people have to change the way they eat and what they eat. Obviously eating is essential. But in order to 'save' money, individuals and families are opting to buy 'cheap' food. Or if they are currently doing that, buying more of it.

'Cheap' food is fast food-the products sold at eateries such as McDonald's, KFC, White Castle, and so many others. Typically, these foods are cheaper than what you would normally pay when you shop for them at the grocery store.

I recently came across an article entitled We're a fast-food nation slowly eating ourselves to death. It was printed in an English newspaper. The author stated that despite the recession, the fast food industry is thriving. While many companies are reducing their work force, that industry is actually hiring.

KFC is creating 9,000 new jobs; Subway is creating 7,000 new jobs and opening 600 additional stores, and McDonald's is creating 4,000 new jobs. Although I haven't heard any similar news story concerning the fast food industry in the United States, I imagine the situation is being replicated here too.

Though it may seem to be the cheaper option in the short term, increasing the consumption of fast or junk food could cost more down the road. The high sugar, sodium, and fat content contribute to the global skyrocketing obesity epidemic, and to growing cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure cases.

The obesity and chronic diseases which are junk food related will fuel escalating medical bills through prescription drugs and surgery. This is the long-term consequence of eating junk food. But with some careful planning and judicious shopping, no one has to resort to poor food choices in order to survive this recession.

Eat at home! You'd be surprised at how much money you would save by preparing home-cooked meals. It is a fact that food prepared at home is a lot more nutritious than food eaten out-even at up-scale restaurants.

This is where careful planning comes into play. If your time is carefully budgeted, even hectic schedules will accommodate home-cooked meals. (For one thing you can cook for a week and then freeze the next days' meals.)

I have always 'brown-bagged' it when I worked a job. Back in the day there were no plastic bags. There were only brown paper bags. Hence the term brown-bag. Lunch could consist of last night's leftovers. Who says that you have to eat in the school or job cafeteria-or at the drive-up food truck?

"Even with rising food prices, it's possible to shop for healthy foods without spending a fortune," so says Elaine Magee, MPH (Masters in Public Health) in an article featured on the WebMD web site. She then goes on to list ten healthy foods which can be purchased for under one dollar (U.S. funds.) These foods are: apples, bananas, bagged baby carrots, canned beans, dry lentils, dry pearl barley, oranges, pears, and plain, lowfat, or fat-free yogurt.

The trade-off for a diet high in junk food is high medical expenses in the future and ruined health. This will by far cost more than what you save by buying cheap fast food. Don't compromise your health by downgrading your nutrition.

Joseph Elijah Barrett.
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