F is for Food – #AtoZChallenge 2018
You may be thinking what food could possibly have to do with managing chronic illness or chronic health issues in general. Well, I’m going to try to break it down for you in very easy ways to relate to.
The first and most obvious concern when it comes to food and nutrition is cost. If you are spending so much to simply exist and you can’t afford your medications or treatments that will prolong your life, you likely have trouble finding the money to eat healthily.
Nearly every time I am in the hospital the various members of my care team bring up the importance of proper nutrition and the importance of eating properly and regularly, especially due to the fact that while my blood sugar is typically controlled very well simply by diet under normal circumstances when I am in the hospital the medications skyrocket my sugars to where I am needing insulin to bring them back down.
I’ve educated many health professionals on the fallacy in their insistence that it is cheaper to eat healthy than most people think. Mind you I do not eat like this, but I have used it as an example on numerous occasions just to exemplify my point. I love fresh fruits and vegetables but let’s face it they are not cheap. The cost of eating healthy is much more than one might think, yet is incredibly important for our longevity and overall health.
If you price out what it will cost you for fresh fruits and vegetables, appropriately healthy meats, grains, bread, etcetera and compare it to, for example, a fast-food dollar menu or the low-cost microwaveable meals at your local grocery or warehouse store and I can tell you that it is much cheaper to eat poorly than to eat well. You could eat one item from the dollar menu at your local fast food store three times a day, using water as your beverage, and it will cost you three dollars a day. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find healthy alternatives to eat even one healthy meal for three dollars per day.
I want to be clear here, I’m not advocating that one eat fast food three times a day every day, or even once a day every day for that matter. I can tell you from experience as a healthcare provider that I have had this very discussion with patients with whom I’ve come in contact that they can’t afford to go to the grocery store for very much. They felt that by eating cheap fast food they were at least doing the best that they could to keep their food intake and blood sugars stable.
I will be the first to admit that I often do not eat properly. I realize and acknowledge the importance of proper nutrition and diet when it comes to health and wellness. I also appreciate the fact that I am essentially both poor and physically challenged in many ways. The spoon theory will be covered later this month in another post, but if you aren’t familiar with it you can surely find it via the almighty Google.
The point being if you don’t have the physical ability or endurance to stand and prepare a meal but maybe once a day, you try to find semi-healthy snacks or quick lunches to hold you over until later in the day because you know that once you expend the energy to prepare a proper meal, you will be too physically exhausted to do much else the rest of the day.
Maybe you have a condition that severely limits or even remove the ability for you to get up and make your own meals like POTS, also known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which can make it nearly impossible to go from a sitting to standing position without passing out due to the effects on your body.
While I can’t and won’t dispute the importance of a proper diet and nutrition in overall health, I won’t sit behind my computer and lie to you and tell you that it is either easy or cheap, especially for those whom it may be most important to.
Do you have a story to share about the importance of diet and your health?