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The Price of Good Health
By Paula Martinac, M.S.

How can you afford to have a healthy diet? Maybe the question should be, how can you afford not to?

In theory, most people want to eat better, either for their own health reasons or because a doctor encouraged them to. But when it comes right down to it, many folks still look to pinch pennies at the checkout, even though they can afford to splurge on a new car or a spring trip. It's where you put your priorities. The fact is, though, you can eat more healthfully than you think if you put a little extra effort into it.

Effort? Into food?

Yes, food. Amazing, huh? Something you put into your body three or more times a day, and even if we can afford to buy quality, many of us don't.

First of all, examine where you shop. Do you continue to rely on giant supermarkets? How about other venues? You can find a lot of great food at the Pittsburgh Public Market, fairly inexpensively: organic vegetables and grains, premium olive oil, fresh milk, cheese and eggs, and locally raised meat. On a recent trip, one vendor had the most beautiful dried beans I'd ever seen – they looked like tiny works of art.

Another good year-round venue is the East Liberty Farmers Market on N. Sheridan Avenue. Again, you'll find fresh eggs, olive oil, micro-greens, local meat, Amish-made cheeses and other wonderful, nutritious fare. No, it's not a supermarket. But if you think outside the processed food box and leave your comfort zone, you just might find something really delicious.

It's spring in Western Pennsylvania, and the outdoor farmers markets will be starting up again soon. From May to November, you can find deals on local produce and other great foods. It may mean getting up a little earlier. But is your health worth it?

Think about it. Have you gained pounds you can't seem to shed? Is your cholesterol higher than your doctor would like? Are your blood sugar levels inching up? Can you afford not to have a healthy diet?

Paula Martinac, M.A., M.S., is a nutrition educator and holistic health coach. She can be reached at Paula.NutritionU@gmail.com or (412) 760-6809. Visit her website at www.nutritionu.net.

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