The Double Whammy: How To Do Your Wallet and Your Health A Favor!
It's no mystery that the western world is overrun with unhealthy foods. Although it is possible to make poor choices at the local grocery store, it is much easier to make those poor food choices when eating out at restaurants and fast food joints. I'd like to propose a challenge to myself and to my readers to not eat fast food or sugary drinks for one month, and observe what happens to your overall mood, well being, and importantly, your bank account.
No matter what the dollar menu suggests, it's significantly less expensive to cook your own food from scratch than it is to eat out all the time. I, like many others, suffer the debilitating handicap of the "convenience bug." This is where I get home after a long day at work, and the last thing I want to do is cook. Actually, I don't mind cooking, and generally would prepare something if I actually had the ingredients. But the thought of driving to the store, spending the mental energy to come up with a meal (or defaulting to chicken and rice), driving home, and then cooking is what I dislike the idea of. Although in the grand scheme of things, it probably takes an equivalent amount of time to drive to a burrito stand, order the greasy carne asada, consume the individually packaged food log, and return home to feel like garbage for the next hour on the couch. My time would be better spent biting the bullet and making something at home.
If you're following the dietary guidelines of the American Heart Association, they recommend eating oily fish such as tuna, halibut, and herring twice a week. Obtaining fresh, quality fish at a fast food place or restaurant is either difficult, expensive, or disgusting. More likely a combination of two or all three. My point is, it is easier to plan and follow healthy eating routines if you're doing shopping ahead of time at a grocery store. You can buy fruits and vegetables, of which it is suggested people consume 9 servings a day, for extremely cheap. You can get a pound of apples at any grocery store for $0.99, less than that if they're in season or you're at a farmers market. This is contrary to $1.00 for 6 slices of peeled green apple at McDonald's, assuming you made that choice instead of the cheeseburger.
Growing up, my mom went shopping on Sunday and Wednesday. Today, I'm still not on her level of routine and organization. I have to expend way more mental energy than I would like to in order to motivate myself to come up with 3 days worth of meals and actually go out and purchase ingredients for them, let alone doing that activity on the same days week after week. It just doesn't seem like my schedule has time for it.
Starting today, November 4, 2016, I will be publishing a weekly supplement to my ordinary article with updates on how the no eating out is going, along with drinking no sugary drinks. I will also be documenting in detail how much I am spending on food each week, so I can establish a true baseline at the end of the month to average out my spending per day.