Cost of health vs health costs


I recently came across a quote by awesome food writer Michael Pollan that said “Cheap food is an illusion. There is no such thing as cheap food. The real cost of the food is paid somewhere. And if it isn’t paid at the cash register, it’s charged to the environment….And it’s charged to your health.”

WOW. Maybe this shouldn’t have come as such an eye-opener, but I’ve never seen it put so succinctly. I’ve always felt that it was important to buy high quality food, especially for my family, but it gets really expensive. I hadn’t really thought about the “cost” of buying cheap food.  It certainly made me feel better about all the dough I drop at Whole Foods and Mrs. Greens. 

If it's true what they say that 'you are what you eat' then I'd much rather be a grass-fed, home cooked burger than a 99cent big mac, how about you?

It also made me think about the cost of healthcare, especially acupuncture and other forms of natural healthcare. Until insurance fully covers acupuncture for the treatment and prevention of disease, it can seem like a hefty out of pocket expense for many people. But when compared to the longterm costs of medications that only act as a “bandaid” and the quality of life costs that come in the form of side-effects, acupuncture is SO cheap.

(A quick aside on insurance- now that more studies are showing the efficacy and cost-savings of acupuncture, more insurance companies are willing to pay for it and I suspect in the next few years almost every insurance company will fall in line.)

So when considering a course of acupuncture treatment, it’s so important to see the big picture. Is coming in for a treatment for back pain twice a week for 5 weeks costly and time consuming? YES. But if it can help you avoid years of pain or prolonged suffering, costly painkillers and medications and decreased quality of life, it’s worth every penny and it's way cheaper than the alternative.

Check out this cool infographic on the duration of treatments in eastern (Chinese) vs western (conventional/allopathic) medicine. For the full infographic, click here.