High Nutrition, High Price Tag?
If I think back on my growing up years, we really didn’t focus much on healthy eating. We ate well, mostly home cooked meals, and we indulged in moderation.
There certainly was never talk about green juice, quinoa, coconut water or kale. We didn’t even seem to use fresh herbs like coriander or rocket in those days! Over the past 10 years nutrition knowledge has really exploded, which is hugely positive.
However, a hefty price tag is often attached to this deeper knowledge.
It seems that being healthy, in the busy life of a present day dweller, is more expensive than just eating whatever passes my nose. Gram for gram, the healthier always comes out more expensive and I am faced with a constant conundrum when I shop for my groceries. Should I spend R12O on a piece of Salmon, because I know it is healthy? Or should I just buy the frozen fish – that also tastes ok (although I know it’s not clean) and 8 portions cost R60? The fresh salmon is more nutritious, as freezing food does lower its nutritional content somewhat. But the frozen fish is also good for you, right? Feelings of guilt and anger arise. Guilt, because I know that healthy food is essential to longevity and health – I am a dietician after all – and pure anger that it is so freaking expensive!
With the rise in nutritional knowledge we now know that certain foods like almonds, avocados, blueberries, fatty fish and green leafy vegetables are foods that contain higher nutritional values than some of their counterparts. But, yes, you guessed it – the higher the nutrient content, the higher the price.
So last week I decided to look out of the box. I needed a solution to this problem. Friends had mentioned a mini farmer’s market that takes place in Durban, so I decided to check it out – although leaving the office on a Wednesday morning wasn’t ideal! To my surprise I found the ‘good stuff’ at a much cheaper price. I bought 5 bananas for R10 and 1 bunch of kale for R10.
I then headed to Checkers and saw Blueboost blueberries for R19.99 a tub – WOW!
I also bought a basil plant that is really producing leaves at a rapid rate.
All in all I realized that yes, being healthy is expensive but it’s the convenience factor that you are actually paying for. Convenience in terms of getting all you need at one shop, as well as having 6 perfect tomatoes, rather than perhaps a few imperfect ones in your packet. So the conundrum actually lies with the decision between effort and convenience, if I am fair.
It boils down to budget and desire I suppose. During those months when money is a little tight, I will be heading to the farmer’s market and perhaps to 2 or 3 grocery shops. But then, during other months I will just have to swallow the anger and pay – because I am not only paying for the healthy food, I am paying for the ease of it all as well! We get to decide, how empowering!