The Economy of Eating

One of the greatest challenges in my fight to maintain my blood sugar levels is eating the right foods.

My mother often jokes that before I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I rarely ate.  I remember those days.  I would skip meals and not think anything of it.  It seems like the moment my nutritionist gave me the list of foods that were “off limits,” I immediately began to crave them all.  It seems that everything turns to sugar in my blood and has the potential to kill me.  That may sound extreme but that is the reality of my situation.  All of the foods that I love – potato salad, macaroni and cheese, cheese burgers, cakes, etc – are the very things that raise my blood sugar and could cause me to lose my eyesight, have a heart attack, suffer from kidney failure or even need a limb amputation.

Some days it is easy to cope with this knowledge and I dutifully eat my salads with a small piece of grilled meat.  Other days, I think if I am going to die, I do not want to die hungry.  Sounds morbid but it is the truth.  And it’s the truth for many Americans who also suffer with this disease and similar ailments.

I hear you saying, stop being selfish and do the right thing… eat the right food… take care of yourself.  That sounds great in theory but think about all of the people who try to diet and fail.  One of the reasons this happens is because eating healthy is not easy in our society.

It constantly baffles me at the cost difference between healthy foods and those that we know will raise our blood sugars, cholesterol and blood pressure.  For example, meats that have higher fat content are less expensive than lean meats.  Canned vegetables are less expensive than fresh or frozen vegetables.  Even the sugary beverages cost much less than those with fresh fruits and natural sugars.

Many families, especially those who are living at or near the poverty level, simply cannot afford healthy eating and those families are often more susceptible to the diseases that will be exacerbated by their high fat/high sugar diets.  It makes you wonder what is happening in our society that we are stacking the deck against healthy eating.  Not only do I have to battle with the internal urges to eat all of the wrong things, when I go to the grocery store, I have to battle the budget of healthy eating.

Additionally, many of the communities that are home to people who need access to healthy food options do not have them available.  Not only are healthy food stores absent from these communities because they know that the members cannot afford their goods; many of the existing stores do not stock the types of foods that encourage a healthy diet.  I often reflect back on the food choices – restaurants and grocery stores – that were accessible to me living in the Green Hills area of Nashville and Sandy Springs outside of Nashville and compare them to small, rural Evergreen Alabama.  I am sure there are a multitude of statistics that will explain why these disparities exist but the fact remains that the economy of eating is killing our society.


2 thoughts on “The Economy of Eating

  1. Don says:

    Two things: I am from a family with a long history of Diabetes and I wonder myself if the day will arrive where I too am diagnosed.

    Just from being around those who are, and who explain the reasons why and the daily procedures that each must endure in order to remain in fair health, leaves me mindful of the foods I intake.

    True – our society creates an unhealthy eating atmosphere and, if you ask me, there is no ending in sight.

    So, as you reveal, it’s basically up to our own personal to assure that we are knowledgeable enough to reverse the health cycle, or else.

    I feel you in the financial aspect of eating nothing but healthy foods … I once attempted to be a vegetarian albeit a large appetite-vegan, and it was TOO expensive.

    Live, LaKesha.


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