It doesn’t take a lot of money to be healthy. It really doesn’t. You can live a very healthy lifestyle on a budget if you commit to making it happen. You can exercise outside and at home and you can buy some healthy whole foods to cook with. I also know it can be hard to eat well unless you have time to grow your own food and visit farmers markets and shop around for deals… which most of us don’t have time to do.
Today I realized that a lot of what goes into a healthy lifestyle is above the reach of the most people purely for financial reasons. I find this to be especially true here in Memphis.
This morning I needed to pick up something to eat for lunch so I decided to try a local grocery store in the downtown area. It was actually a really awesome store that had a health foods focus with good produce and healthier packaged foods. The only problem was the price of everything was a lot higher than what you can get at a standard grocery store.
The same thing happens at Whole Foods, the biggest and most well known healthy food store. They don’t call it Whole Paycheck for nothing. (I try to limit my purchases here, but I looooove Whole Foods.)
In fact, all the health food focused grocery stores I’ve ever been in do this. Healthy food just costs more. Right? Even in your regular grocery store the health food and organic sections will cost you more than the cheap processed food.
Because the food is more expensive health food stores tend to be in wealthier areas. In Memphis all the stores that are health conscious are located in wealthy, upper class areas. I live in a lower income area and I have to travel at least 20-30 minutes to get to any of these stores. My closest grocery store? It’s a Walmart. And it’s not a great place to buy groceries except for the fact that things there are cheap. (Although I admit, I do shop there sometimes even though I aim to at least go to a nicer Kroger a little further away.)
It seems like most cities have setups like this. It makes sense because obviously a store like Whole Foods wouldn’t do well in an area where people couldn’t afford the food.But it’s frustrating to see and even live in areas that don’t have the same access to good food. Not having my own car here has shown me how difficult it can be to get any food, let alone food that is good for you.
This is just something I’ve been thinking about while living in between the land of privileged white girl with a job and broke kicked-out-of-our-house girl living in a bad neighborhood. There is such a disconnect in what is offered in terms of healthy food in both worlds.
Maybe healthy food is only for the wealthy. Maybe this isn’t something that is going to change for a while, or ever. I don’t know. I know personally it’s worth getting the best food I can afford, even if that isn’t always the best food that is available. (Yeah, I hardly ever buy organic even though I would like to.)
What do you think? Where do you shop for groceries? Is healthy food only for the wealthy?