Investing in Your Health 401K

IMG_8074We all….are supposed to be contributing as much as possible of our income into our retirement fund — right?  And pick your poison: a traditional 401K, Roth 401K, IRA, gold, silver — the list goes on.  Don’t we want to be healthy when it comes time to cash in on all this money we’ve saved?

In 2013, those of us who can afford a disposable income simply don’t spend enough money on good food. Five hundred years ago, Europeans would spend over half of their income on food. Granted, people were poor and had no choice. There was no middle class. Famine lurked around every corner and a feudal society made it impossible for people to not spend their money on food.  Getting to my point, people allocated a large percentage of their income on food because they had to.  Today, we have a middle class and we have the freedom to spend as much or little of our money on food. It seems, however, that most of us spend as little of our income as possible on food. Are we still upset about the past?

We need to start spending more of our income on real, healthy, nutritious food.  I am not at all saying we need to automatically go out and buy organic.  What I am suggesting, moreover, is the notion that we need to purchase actual food.  Not prepared food. Not fast food one night a week.  Not cereal for dinner (unless we’re sick. God i love cereal when I’m sick. I love corn flakes).  I mean vegetables every night, whether steamed, baked, or raw, we need to eat them.  Fish, chicken, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, or quinoa, walnuts, and cheese, we need to eat real food that comes directly from the earth. This food should be processed by an age-old tradition (e.g., cheese making, milling which keeps the grain fiber, etc.) or can even be a good old product of fermentation and mold (e.g., again, cheese).  You might be thinking that walnuts are expensive, as is fish.  Case in point.  They are expensive but walnuts and fish are incredibly good for your cholesterol, your brain, and your well-being. Walnuts and fish, as a meal, let’s say, with zucchini, are much, much better than eating a hotdog with potato chips and a glass of milk. More expensive, yes, but a hell of a lot more healthy.

If you cost out a real food dinner, for example,  zucchini, yam, fish ($10.99/lb), and an arugula salad with cherry tomatoes sided with only water as the beverage – compared to what I’ll call a traditional supermarket aisle dinner, the difference might seem shocking. Let’s say the less expensive meal is a Kraft mac&cheese dinner with milk as the beverage. The Kraft meal clearly wins.  What happens if you have to feed a family of 5 children?  While the Kraft dinner might still win in terms of price, the real food dinner comes in a close second – yes, I really wrote that – and takes the cake overall for health.  Here’s why: the fiber in those zucchinis, yam, and arugula is going to fill your children right on up.  You might even have enough left over for their lunches or dinner the next night.  Unless they are ravenous, growing teenage boys, in which case you’re up a creek, I can’t reiterate enough how much that the fiber will slow them down. How did I forget to mention the bitter flavor will also slow them down, until they fully embrace the flavors? (or completely reject your dinners and binge on fast food whenever they get the chance when out of the house? This is another blog entry)

The more high nutrient, low calorie, fresh, green, and leafy food you can buy, cook, and put in your body, the better your health will be. What is the advantage to treating food as if  investing in your health 401K? Longevity. Happiness. Feeling good. Feeling healthy. Being alive when it comes time to withdraw your actual retirement funds!

Through the lens of health, think of what a healthy, real meal will do for your body and mind in the long run. How much of your disposable income will it take?  Thirty dollars more a week?   I buy fish 3 times a week for my partner Kelly and I.  The most I’ll spend on fish is $12/lb.  I buy 3/4 of a pound of fish for each meal.  To save money, I typically buy the sale, be it, salmon, cod, halibut, talapia, flounder, shrimp, or if we’re lucky, coho salmon, which is my favorite.  Is it worth it? Totally.

 

Our health and wellness in many ways boils down to cold economics.  Our health is linked directly to our income. How much you make determines how health you are. Or is it the education that is making you healthy? But we have a choice. God bless America.  Isn’t this freedom?

 

Posted on by Jadamic in Uncategorized

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