May 12, 2014

How Much is Your Health Worth?

How much is your life and your kids' life worth to you?  What about your significant other?  If you had all the money in the world, what would you be willing to pay to ensure you always had good
 health?  What if you could buy a pill that that promised a long, healthy life?  Would you buy it and how much would you be willing to spend on it?

If you are anything like me, there is a budget so there is no such thing as 'any amount of money' or 'all the  money in the world' but the fact remains that my health is highly valuable to me.  The life of my mother, brother, grandmother, bf and other loved ones are critical to me.  If there was some awesome invention that allowed me to guarantee their health I'd do it.  I might have to be on a payment plan but I bet many of you would be willing to invest in it as well!

On the other hand, what if there was a product or pill on the market that was a known carcinogenic (cancer causing) and you could buy it then use it.  Would you?  Sort of a silly question, right?  I cannot really think of anyone that would be a good candidate for this type of product.  I do not envision any back orders or people lining up in stores to buy it right away.  The crazy thing is - we do!!!  We are willing to spend our hard earned money to buy things that damage our cells, cause cancer and can kill us.  I am not talking about alcohol or anything fun like that.

I am talking about simple things like pesticides, arsenic, parabens and other household items like deodorant that contain cancer causing agents, preservatives - such as nitrates- chemicals and/or compounds.  A typical deodorant is about $4-$7.00 depending on the brand.  Pesticides are on EVERY produce option there is, unless otherwise noted.  Parabens are in almost EVERY lotion and arsenic is in chicken, baby rice and much more.  Lotion can cost all the way up to $10.00 per bottle and we use it daily.  Slathering it on to help moisturize our skin.  Pretty smelling lotions, sensitive or just plain lotion.  Doesn't matter, most of them have parabens and we pay for it.  All of it.

I bet you had no idea about the arsenic in chicken!  This started a long time ago because the chickens were getting intestinal bacteria that was killing them off or preventing them from growing big enough to yield much or enough profit.  I do not really know what 'enough' profit means but the idea, back then, was the the kidney and livers would filter out this dangerous toxin yet it would efficiently kill off the bacteria.  Indeed it killed off the bacteria and, indeed, liver and kidneys do filter.  However, what was unknown was that the whole body would absorb this poison and would be consumed by humans.

Once this was discovered one would  think we would search for an alternative but I do not know why an alternative was not researched.  We just continue using the same old primitive method with no regard for the humans who consume it.  Yes, arsenic is carcinogenic and you can read about it on the American Cancer Society's website here.  Personally, I would be willing to pay a little extra for my chicken to be without it because my health is worth it!

So why is it that we complain about the cost of organic products or up charges for salads versus fries?  Commonly, people express that eating healthy is more expensive than not.  For example, a bag of chips is cheaper than a fruit or veggie tray.  This is absolutely true.  However, I can sit down with a bag of chips and eat half or more of it and feel unsatisfied.  Then I will be hungry again an hour and a half later.  Or I can eat a serving from the veggie tray and feel satisfied, consume something nutritionally valuable AND have several servings leftover for other meals.

What about restaurants?  I was at Applebee's last week and ordered Mexican Tortilla soup as an appetizer because it was not the typical tortilla soup.  It was not a cream broth and it had a ton of veggies.  Then I subbed the fries for a house salad.  When the server told me it was an up charge of $3.29 I almost told her never mind but then I realized I was devaluing my health.  Yes, money is important to me and I have a difficult time paying more for things than I should have to but my health is worth more than a couple or few bucks.

I did an experiment at the grocery store to compare the cost of buying organic produce versus non-organic.  I have always had a few items that I prefer buying organic but not all of them... because of the cost.  Then I realized I have been paying to put carcinogens into my body.  Just what I try to prevent.  I would NEVER buy a pill that would guarantee cancer or even give me a good chance of getting yet I was buying regular fruits and vegetables.

I wondered just how much more expensive is buying a week's worth of organic produce than my usual purchasing patterns.  My typical pattern is to buy organic apples and, recently, I have not been buying organic bell peppers, strawberries or blueberries on a regular basis.  I have found myself thinking about it a lot lately so I did a test.  Last weekend I bought all thin-skin fruits and veggies organic.  Thick skin like bananas, avocados, oranges, etc. are not as crucial as the skin absorbs most of the pesticides so I did not include them in the test.

I bought 6 apples, 4 pears, 2 red and 1 green bell peppers, red leaf lettuce, kale, and broccoli ALL organic.  And guess how much I spent?  $14.45 and I do not think that is too expensive.  It is very close to what I spend weekly anyway AND I get the added benefit of not buying cancer.  Obviously that is a loose statement because there is no guarantee that all of us will get cancer but there is a guarantee that I am avoiding known carcinogens by getting that way.  Just a little perk which I happen to like because my health is worth it!!  So is my bf's health and he eats what is in the house (and then some) so it is a little insurance that he has a better chance of being healthy.

We already have a head start at illness because of the above things I listed.  Nitrates are in our deli meat and I am an offender of buying deli meat for sandwiches.  When I see "nitrate-free" on sale, I get it and who knows, maybe I will take the plunge and start buying only nitrate free in the future.  Yes, nitrates are known carcinogens also.  There's also a long list of things I have not mentioned because that could take all day... well, all week and I do not think you want to read an article/blog that long!  So why not give the body a break?! 

I vote for helping the body out in little areas that I can by spending a few cents more to really get some peace of mind.  My health IS worth a few cents....even a few dollars per week.  Is yours or your kids'?

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  1. Years ago my husband and I vowed that we would NEVER question the amount of money that we were spending on food...we can moan about he prices, but we don't put something back and make a lesser choice based on price. We eat natural and organic much of the time. :-)

    1. that is a great rule of thumb when referring to the healthier version of things!