Bigger than Biceps: Grocery shopping, not your average impulse buy

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Every other week, if I'm lucky, I go grocery shopping and spend between $50 to $100. When sharing this with my boyfriend the other day, he responded with, 'You have an expensive diet.' Sure that may be the case, but it's not like buying clothes I'm attracted to and making unnecessary impulse purchases. By spending this amount of money on food, I'm investing in my health now —in my early 20's— so that I don't have to pay for it later in hospital bills.

Everyone has a different understanding of grocery shopping concerning how much should be spent and where food should be bought, due to how one was raised. If you grew up with a junk drawer in the kitchen, chances are you'll carry that grocery habit into adulthood unknowingly. My theory is that if snacks aren't bought, then you can't snack. Simple enough. Junk food tends to crawl into the snack category. Anyway, my boyfriend's parents grocery shop every Sunday, and I go when I run out of food, so that nothing has a chance to spoil. Which is sort of how my mom shopped.

I also clip coupons for every shopping trip, unless I'm stopping to pick up something I forgot. Unfortunately, there are rarely coupons for produce and poultry, which is a good amount of my groceries, however, store member cards save cash with buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deals. I don't buy a large amount of boxed products because they aren't fresh, nor good for you. I buy nutritious food that will fuel my body with the energy I need to function. Those who invest, or maybe don't, in processed, refined foods, could pay later in medical bills for high cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Before you can believe in that, you have to believe that there is a correlation between a bad diet and health issues.

There are certainly stories out there about people who ate healthy their whole life and died sooner than the next person who ate what they wanted, but I'd rather not risk it. This is something I'm reading about in my National Academy of Sports Medicine training book. Lack of exercise plays into how unhealthy food can rot your health.

In 2013, the leading cause of death in the U.S. was heart disease with 611,105, followed by cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases and then accidents, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease can be caused by smoking, high amount of fat and cholesterol in the blood, high blood pressure, high sugar in blood because of insulin resistance or diabetes and blood vessel inflammation. Heart.org, or the American Heart Association, is an entire organization dedicated to the prevention of heart issues with a tag line of "You're never too young — or too old — to take care of your heart." Point made.

Having an expensive diet should not be frowned upon. If you can afford it, or budget for such a diet, then my advice is to do so while you can. I'm not saying that Oreo cookies and Doritos chips should be banned from the household, they can be consumed in moderation, however a diet made up of those food products, will lead to other complications besides internal issues. You'll have irregular digestion, bad skin, bloating and lack of energy. When you start eating whole foods and complete meals, your body will start to change dramatically. Losing weight, mental clarity and energy are among the top three changes that will automatically happen. Money will also be saved if you're eating out often.

My doctor visits are a piece of cake now because I rarely go, and because I can explain any complications I have from getting to know my body so well. If I eat clean Monday through Friday and have cheat meals on the weekend, I automatically know what aspects of my body will be altered, i.e. digestion, mood and energy. My body gets confused, and/or rejects the unhealthy items. During the Easter holiday my aunt makes cinnamon buns from scratch. I can never pass them up, but I know I'll always be ready for a nap just two hours later from a sugar crash.

Make the effort to invest in nutrition to benefit your body now, and for the long haul.

— Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.


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