I just got my oil changed. I had a coupon so I was psyched up. “I’m going to save $8.00!” When all was said and done, though, my grand total was over $150. (The oil change included a new cabin air filter, tire rotation, and more.) The oil change company tossed in a free car wash, but I was still experiencing sticker shock. I couldn't help but wonder if I'd been hoodwinked into spending more than necessary.
As I was stewing over the hefty price tag, the service manager came up to me and said, “If you are good to your car, it will be good to you." Obviously this was a line intended to make me feel better, but, to my surprise, it actually worked. He had a good point. If we neglect oil changes and regular maintenance we put our car at risk. We may be penny-wise but pound-foolish. Cars that are not maintained well seem okay in the short-run but in the long-run, they become sluggish and eventually irreparably damaged.
When it comes to eating and our health, there is a similar relationship. If we feed ourselves on the cheap, with foods that fill but don't nourish us, we will save money in the short-run but we will later pay the price with our diminishing health. Conversely, if we fill ourselves with the best food we can afford, including, yes, organic veggies and fruit, and hormone-free and antibiotic-free meats, we will pay more up front, but we save ourselves the pain (often physical) and expense of health care costs.
When we look at our food budget, we forget to take this into account. It is expensive to eat well. You will spend more in the short-term. Your wallet will feel the pinch. But would you rather feel pain now, monetarily, or later, both physically and monetarily? This is why I say that conventional food is more expensive than organic. One costs more at the register, but there are hidden, more serious, costs with the other.
Conventional veggies and fruit are grown with pesticides sprayed on them (and sometimes are even genetically modified to contain pesticides). Pesticides are bug-killers and chemicals meant to kill aren't good for any living beings. Packaged and processed foods contain preservatives, colorings, and flavorings that our bodies cannot recognize or assimilate easily. Non-food products in our food are difficult for our bodies to digest and can hurt us, from the inside out.
What do you think? Am I off base here? Is conventional more costly than organic, really? Do you agree or disagree? I'm eager to hear your thoughts!