Why eating healthy is the best investment you’ll ever make

“Eating healthy is just too expensive.”

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that from people.

I’m not going to deny that buying fresh vegetables and fruits as well as organic chicken, fish, and meats, and other healthy alternatives can get pricey. Stores like Whole Foods (commonly called "Whole Paycheck") charge high prices and make huge profits.

The reality is that yes, eating healthy is more expensive than digesting fake Franken-foods filled with bad fats, sugar, and chemicals.

But what is the alternative - and exactly how much will that cost you?

Before we look at that, let’s look at what most people DO spend money on, instead of healthy food:

$4-5 Starbucks coffee

$6-7 pack of cigarettes

$40 Cable TV

$4 beer at a bar

$3 chips and soda from the vending machine for a snack

$4.50 magazine they look through once before throwing out

$5 fee every time you use the ATM

Maybe you do have more money available than you thought for a healthy diet and lifestyle?

Furthermore, what is the cost of the alternative, eating a horrible body? Filling your body with unnatural and harmful substances over time is probably the worst thing you could do for your health.

The reality is that if we’re not investing in health, we’re investing in getting sick. Trust me when I tell you that “sick care” will cost you far more than the cost of eating healthy to prevent getting ill in the first place.

Consider that in the U.S., we spend $8,233 per year per person on health care costs once people are already sick. That amount is more than two-and-a-half times more than the average in other developed countries!

In fact, the cost of our sick care in the U.S. adds up to about 17.6 percent of our total Gross Domestic Product (GDP)!

If you don’t like to spend money on healthy food, then you really won’t like the cost of cancer. The newest cancer drugs cost an average of $10,000 per month, with some therapies topping $30,000 per month. In fact, of the nearly $374 billion Americans spent on prescriptions in 2014, about 9 percent – was spent on oncology (cancer) drugs. Another $11.1 billion was spent on supportive care treatments that help with the side effects of strong chemotherapy drugs. And that’s just the beginning, with drugs alone only about 24 percent of the direct costs of cancer, with hospital and outpatient care about 54 percent and physicians fees another 22 percent.

Of course, once you become ill, whether with diabetes, cancer, have a heart attack, etc. your health will all of a sudden become a priority. At that point, you’d gladly empty out your savings, max out your credit card, and cash in your stocks for the chance to be healthy again, to have a second chance to do it over again with a healthy lifestyle, and more time with your loved ones.

But it doesn’t work that way.

It took you a long time to get sick, to reach the point of that illness. You consciously BUILT that skyscraper of disease. You had to BUY it with your long-term behaviors, habits, and carelessness. For years, you INVESTED in your sickness, one bad choice at a time.

Even worse, you're doing the same thing to your children when you constantly feed them McDonald's, poison-bombs of sugar, and other packaged, processed junk. (I think parents should be deemed criminally negligent when they poison their kids to the point of obesity and disease!)

But the good news is that you can choose to make that same investment towards your health, by eating a clean, natural diet, detoxifying your body, exercising regularly, seeing a chiropractor, and reversing the damage that you’ve already done.

That’s the reason many companies are investing in employee wellness programs – they see the money they’ll save and the fact that they’ll have happier, healthier, more productive and reliable workers. Those programs are also a great way for us to gauge the efficacy and ROI of eating healthy and exercising.

In fact, when Johnson & Johnson instituted a wellness program in the 1990s, the results have been spectacular. Since 1995, the number of employees who have high blood pressure has dropped by more than 50 percent, and the percentage of their employees who smoke has dropped by more than two-thirds. The company estimates that this wellness programs saved them about $250 in healthcare costs alone over the last decade, with a Return On Investment of $2.71 for every dollar they spent.

When MDs Richard Milani and Carl Lavie studied a random sample of 185 workers at a large U.S. company, they found that those who joined an exercise and wellness program saw a drop of $1,421 per participant in medical claim costs compared to just the previous year. That resulted in $6 of savings for every $1 the company invested in the program.

In 2001 when the MD Anderson Cancer Center instituted an organizational wellness program, they saw an 80 percent decline in lost work days due to illness within six years, saving them an estimated $1.5 million.

It’s never too late to start – it’s amazing how quickly the body starts healing itself, as we see with smokers who quit later in life but see the health benefits and positive changes to their bodies in very short order.

So every time you eat or drink something, just take a moment to consciously think about what you're doing. Are you building great health - or building your disease?

I think that most people really WANT to be healthy, but they are just too tired, stressed, unmotivated (what do you think contributes to all of those conditions?!) and, in many cases, uneducated.

To be clear, you're not alone in this – the food industry is conspiring to have you eat this way because they make billions and billions of dollars every year keeping us unhealthy and addicted. Look at school lunches and vending machines selling Coca-Cola and candy bars in elementary schools as evidence of the early brainwashing.

But it just takes a little bit of awareness and planning, and you'll find that eating healthy isn't time-consuming at all – and will cost you far less in the long term than

A great, easy way to get started is to make a list of healthier alternatives.

I’m not telling you that you should be a vegan who only eats organic and raw vegetables overnight, but could you feed your kids apple slices with natural peanut butter instead of chocolate bars and potato chips as a snack?

Or water instead of sugary fruit juices all the time?

How about a breakfast of eggs and avocado instead of Pop Tarts and sugary junk cereals?

Or just a portion of steamed broccoli instead of French Fries?

It’s a great start, and once you make these habits, you’ll naturally start doing more to improve your healthy diet.

It’s all about balance, so once you have a healthy foundation, go ahead and give yourself or your kids a dessert or treat every once and a while, but it should be just that – not a staple.

Your body will love you, you’ll feel much better, you’ll be happier and less stressed, and you won’t have to deal with so many nagging illnesses due to a low immune system, or more prolific diseases down the road.

At that point, you’ll realize that the cost of eating healthy was well worth it!

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