I have bought a new pair of boots today. My old pair, a veteran of three years of being stomped about on, has become incapacitated (or dead, should I choose not to send them for expensive repairs) due to a broken shank. Shank of a boot, in case you did not know, is the metal bit that supports the arch–incredibly important if the heel is high (and all my boots have high heels). Shanks break in high-heeled boots eventually no matter what–the difference is simply in whether they break the first day you wear the boots, or the third-fifth year of you walking around in them. Essentially, the amount of time your high-heeled boots will live, depends on how expensive they were to begin with (within reason, I’m not talking haute couture creations with four-digit prices in £). For reference, the previous pair had been round about £100 and lived three winters of walking and working.
What does that have to do with food? Well, it’s simple, really. The same principle which applies toward the cost-effectiveness of a new pair of boots, applies to the cost-effectiveness (or perhaps in this case, efficacy) of food.
I do not make an excessively huge salary. Therefore I cannot afford to buy 20 pairs of boots per year, and that’s a modest estimate of how fast cheap (say, £20-25) pairs of boots will break when really used (and by that I don’t mean walking from car to office chair and back once in a while). Which is why I buy decent boots (which tend to cost decently), and wear them happily.
The way this applies to food is similar, though not in longevity. Or well, not in longevity of food. You, on the other hand… are another story altogether. That, and vanity. I am a vain creature, I enjoy looking good. Therefore, anything which promotes that is a worthwhile investment–and well, good food is a far lesser expense than some other (far more painful) things which people do for the sake of their vanity. I do not believe that anyone who cares about his or her or their children’s health can really afford to save money on food. I’d rather save money on clothes or entertainment. Or do without eating out (I don’t go out to drink, though I have nothing against alcohol as such). The food that you put in your body directly affects your health, energy levels and weight–and through those, many other things. I will elaborate on this another time–today, the point I would like to make is that healthy, nutrient-dense (as opposed to calorie-dense) food is more expensive than what’s commonly termed “empty calories” in terms of money. Sugar candy, a bag of potatoes and (generic) refined “vegetable oil” do and will cost less than a box of lamb cutlets, a bag of fresh baby greens, some quality extra virgin olive oil and a handful of almonds (all of which happened to be my dinner this evening and so got used as an example). The nutrient/calorie ratio of those will be proportionately (or even exponentially) larger than that of “cheap” food, making it essentially a lot better deal when you figure what you are paying for. Like the longevity (and ankle-preserving powers) of a well-made pair of boots with a shank that won’t flex or break while you walk.
So in the end, like with cheap shoes, you will pay for buying cheap food and eating it–though not monetarily (unless you count health care costs), but in the cost to your body, which may have enough energy (or more than enough), but none of the essential things which food must have aside from it to maintain itself in good shape. Like a cheap pair of boots, cheap food will end up getting back at you and twisting your metaphorical ankle. And you’ll be lucky if it doesn’t break it, metaphorically, as well.
You get what you pay for. And we are not rich enough to afford buying cheap things. Or well, I know I’m not.