Frustration of the cost to be healthy

By lipsie Latest Reply 2009-03-24 12:08:19 -0500
Started 2009-03-13 16:33:55 -0500

Yanno, Ty and I just can't get over how expensive it is to be healthy. We REALLY want to change our lifestyle and eat better foods. We BOTH have Diabeties and high cholesterol amoung many other things yet…we can get a loaf of white (unhealthy) bread for a $1.00, but like $3.25 or something for wheat (healthy)! Just my little example which I am sure you all are aware of. But seriously HOW can we do this? I just don't know. We both are disabiled and yes get some (not many) food stamps. (I can not believe I am being SO open) But, I feel so welcome here that I guess I am trusting not to be judged over all this. Because yeah, I have worked in my life, maybe not a whole lot compared to many other but I have always worked until 2003. Anyhow, back to the point, I am just frustrated so much cuz I really want this change, but does this change we want us? HELP! Sheila

37 replies

lipsie 2009-03-24 00:49:02 -0500 Report

I just have to give you a pat on the back for two reasons, one of course taking on all the responsibilities you have lately, the other is to admit it…that you all hit bottom and needed help, no big deal, well it is but ya know what I mean. I think it is GREAT that your husband and child are getting closer at that! And yeah, the turn, maybe there was a good reason for it all…the change was needed and brought ya all closer? Just my thoughts.Anyhow, I been there, I AM there and I certainly do NOT down you and your family…congradulations! Love your friend, Sheila

vgarrison 2009-03-22 23:46:59 -0500 Report

Did anyone see the 20/20 special a few months ago?? It was about the poorest in the country…in the mountains of Kentucky…it showed a direct link between poverty and poor health..especially poor oral hygiene and Mt. Dew…apparently that is a staple there. It was an eye opener about what people were able to afford..and not afford…even when on state or government help. It was sad to see that there are people, especially children, that have to go to bed everynight hungry…even "in the greatest country in the world"…


LadyDi - 26259Miller
LadyDi - 26259Miller 2009-03-23 09:13:16 -0500 Report

Don't even get me started on that topic. I do volunteer work with the needy (some homeless as well), and what I see right here in my own area breaks my heart and makes me angry.

I will say, however, that there are people on our welfare rolls, etc., who simply do nothing to help themselves, but prefer to just "exist" as they are. I have a very real problem with that. Some states do a better job of addressing that than others. But the part that is so maddening and frustrating is definitely knowing there are children going without health care and the things they need…even enough food. Heartbreaking.

2009-03-23 14:18:45 -0500 Report

I agree totally. In my city, I see generations leading the next generation to the welfare roles as it's been for decades. I myself was on the 'roles' when my oldest son was little for a multitude of reasons but I was taught to use it as a stepping stone to personal freedom, not a way of life. I finished college, created a career path, and raised two children myself and never looked back. That I did that does not make me any better than the next guy just an example that it doesn't have to be the way it is with people just existing. Some people can't make it past it for many reasons, either physical or mental so for them, the 'system' is there for a reason but for those that are just looking for a handout and someone to make life easier for them it irritates me to no end…


LadyDi - 26259Miller
LadyDi - 26259Miller 2009-03-23 17:39:49 -0500 Report

When you're working with those in need, as many of us do, it is sometimes a struggle to be non-judgemental. With the ministry I'm in, we know that we assist some who have no desire to change or to make an effort to better their way of life.

But as it is with life in general, the "system" is not always fair. There are people out there who "play" the system and have for years - will probably continue to do so. As you said, some are physically or mentally incapable of improving their situations, and that is heartbreaking.

For those who just do not, for whatever reason, we have to remember that the children that are in those families did not ask to be brought into this world or given these people as family. They must be taken care of, regardless of the fact that we might help someone who is not necessarily deserving. Then we have to remember that these people will one day have to answer to God for their actions. It's not our place to judge. We do what God tells us to do - take care of those in need. God will take it from there. And those people need to be witnessed to and prayed for, just as all of the others.

Of late it has been so hard to see those coming in for the first time because they've lost jobs they've had for 25-30 yrs., their houses are either in or near foreclosure, their health insurance is gone, etc. Most are humiliated at having to seek assistance. I remind them that none of us is certain about tomorrow - or this afternoon, for that matter. Any of us could be put in a similar position at any moment. But for those who are proud and have never had to ask for help before, it is so difficult for them to ask and receive.

If you have a job, if you have insurance, if you are not losing your home, etc., be so very thankful. And even if any of those things do apply to you, I pray you can still look at your lives and see that there are other blessings in your life for which to be thankful.

vgarrison 2009-03-24 00:27:08 -0500 Report


It is very hard right now for many people, that is very true. For the first time in my life, my family and I are in the system. If we didn't get food stamps and Medicaid then I would be paying over 1500 a month between my meds and all our food. Not to mention that for a couple of months we had to go on TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) AKA Welfare. If it wasn't for that, I don't know where we would be right now.

As it is right now, I am the only one working, for my husband has not been able to find anything here (and I mean he's even tried McDonalds). This "recession" is horrible. We are just very thankful that I was able to find work, so for the first time in 3 years I am the one working and my husband is taking care of our 3 year old. Actually I think it is a wonderful arrangement right now. My husband worked 7 days a week for a long time, and our daughter didn't want much to do with him, because she didn't really know him. Now they are getting along better than they ever have before, and my husband and I are getting a first hand knowledge of being in the other persons shoes.

At first it was very hard for the 2 of us to even use the Welfare money. We were almost guilty about it. We weren't one of "those" people. But then we realized that there is no stereo type…everyone needs a little help from time to time. We consider this a stepping stone for us. Also it has taught us both a little more humility and consideration for "other" people.


Cyberia3716 2009-03-21 17:57:18 -0500 Report

I am soooooooo in agreement with you!. And I have had to live on food stamps myself and it is sooo hard to eat healthy on what they give you! Its a drop in the bucket. You know studies have shown there is a direct link to poor health and poverty. And Im not tryin to facetious. How can one eat healthy if all you can afford is low quality food. That is such a challenge and my heart goes out to you. I guess one way is to buy in season fruits and veggies and foods such as groats (not oats), and other whole foods are good and in bulk are not too horribly expensive. Even if you only buy them in small amounts every once in a while is better than not at all. But I know things like fish (salmon for ex.) that they tell you to eat often is not affordable to the some that are on a fixed budget. This really is a challenge.

lipsie 2009-03-19 21:28:15 -0500 Report

Yeah this is helpful…do you have the name of whom wrote those books? I am far from a cook but VERY interested, ya never know…or maybe I'll make my ol' man Ty do the makin' of em'. Wow, you even make your own cheese, yogurt? That's so cool…I would just LOVE that! I am a TRUE cheese freak too, lol. Thanks Sheila

Two painful feet
Two painful feet 2009-03-19 15:07:22 -0500 Report

There is no shame in using food stamps. My husband and I use them. If we didn't receive them we would be in trouble. My husband worked his whole life. I have never had the health to work. I feel bad that I have not been able to work and contribute to our financing. I was getting S.S.I. until my husband got his disabilites. Then they took it away from me.
Also about the cost of food. buying on sale, store brands, learn to make bread. You can buy a used bread maker at Goodwill, Value village or what ever the are called where you live. Buying convience foods is expensive and bad for diabetis. The public library has or can get a set of three books called (make a mix). If you can buy it in the store you can make it with these books. I even learned to make cheese, cream cheese and yogurt.

Hope this has helped
Your Friend

lipsie 2009-03-22 12:29:24 -0500 Report

JoAnna, sometime do you think I could talk to you on the phone (I would call) or email, to learn how to make those as well? Plus any other little/big/whatever things that may be helpful for me to learn? That is IF you don't mind. Sheila

2009-03-17 23:40:05 -0500 Report

Where I live, the cheapest grocery store near me is Save A Lot, and lemme tell ya, their selection is slim! Since my husband and myself have decided to eat healthier, our 2 week grocery bill jumped 50.00. Eating healthy is not cheap! We opt for potato bread for our bread, I'm still learning how to bake with whole wheat flour. Basically, you have to become a label reader extraordinaire!! I spend more time reading labels than I do shopping, really. At first it wasn't fun, it was really confusing, but as I've done it now for 17 years, hehe, I think I'm finally used to it.

vgarrison 2009-03-18 00:16:45 -0500 Report

see I consider label reading like a game…who can find the product with the lowest carbs…LOL…once I teach my 3 year old how to read it will be alot funner and the people at the grocery store can quit looking at me funny when I make a voice for her…LOL


cedarwolf 2009-03-14 12:20:27 -0500 Report

Have you considered learning to bake your own whole wheat bread? As a long time hobbiest baker, I taught all 6 of our children how to bake bread (and scratch biscuits and stuff like that) and the ones who continue all feel better for their taking control of that situation. It's also great exercise. One of the kids bought me a bread machine a few years ago and I love it because of the convenience of the situation, and it lets me control just what goes into our bread. I recommend whole wheat or "jack wheat" myself.

vgarrison 2009-03-13 23:50:40 -0500 Report

Hey in my opinion there is nothing to be ashamed of with using food stamps…if it wasn't for the help, we would have to eat ramen noodles all the time…LOL

At first it was hard for us too. It seems like all the healthy food does cost more…especially organic. We recently moved from right outside of New Orleans to about an hour north of Seattle. Wow let me tell you the culture shock up here is amazing. In the south, health is not a very big concern in general, up here your health is about all everyone has in common. The great thing about this community is there is a food co-op here and in the summer there is a HUGE farmers market (that we can actually use the food stamps on). Even though the cost is a little more up here than down there, my hubby and I are finding quite a few people here than can give us tips and pointers on how to eat healthy with a low budget.

One thing that I have found is that making more items from scratch really saves money in the long run. Sure hamburger helper is easier, but its cheaper and better for you to make things like that from scratch. Something I am learning slowly but steadily!!!

Blessed Be

lipsie 2009-03-14 10:30:29 -0500 Report

You are right thank you. My finace is from Washington…one hour south of Seatle actually. Yeah, its going to take some time getting use to this new way for us but but we'll get it…we have great support right here alone…I am so happy I found this place. I feel better about myself as a person and even health…grant, we have MANY things to change but we have started here n there, we have enthusithuim now…and that I did not have before..thanks again…Sheila

lipsie 2009-03-13 23:11:49 -0500 Report

Thank you all for the advice. First, you all are right… I just am changing my eatting ways so its all new and different for one. I don't feel so alone thanks you all of you and your input. I am pretty good about coupons and sales I must say. And you are right, the less you'll eat with the better kinds, makes so much sense. Thanks for the site, I will check that out definately! Thank you all VERY much, Ty N I appreciate ALL of your help! Sheila N Ty

2009-03-13 19:56:17 -0500 Report

Sheila, I still don't know what to buy and what not to buy. Like LadyDi, I'm divorced and live alone. It's hard to cook for just one. I either buy too much or too little. I shop at Winn-Dixie, it might just be a southern grocery store, anyway, I use their discount card. I always save a good bit of money and I look for discounts they offer with the discount card. It helps in the pocket book. As far as healthy, I'm soooo lost still. (Waiting on a book I ordered!) Keep in mind, this is coming from a girl that cooks her eggs in the microwave. Haven't mastered a stove yet! Before diabetes, fast food was my best friend! Take care and good luck! Angie

daniel velazco
daniel velazco 2009-03-13 19:55:59 -0500 Report

Shelia you are not the only one on food stamps. we also use them. We always get the weeend news paper and cut out all the coupons we can. We mainly use Krogers also as they have 10 for 10 sales
and as has been said kroger brand is just as good as name brand. Love their veggies.

DawnRJackson 2009-03-13 17:12:32 -0500 Report

Hi Sheila,

I totally understand that frustration, that is one of the reasons we are going to try and put in a garden, the more I can grow, the less I have to buy! Have you checked around for local farmer's markets where you are? You should be able to get some things there a lot less expensively than at the regular grocer.

Also, does your city have a day old bread store? When we lived in a larger city I was able to get bread for about half what the price was in a regular grocery store — the way I figured it, once the bread was at my house, it was going to be day old bread no matter what as we didn't eat a loaf a day lol.

Coupons can be very helpful too, as is buying in bulk, do you have a Sam's Club or Costco type store where you are? You might put out more initially for something from them but overall it saves you money, at least it did for us when we were able to shop at places like that.

Another thing we do to cut costs is that we don't buy name brands very often anymore, the store brand is often just as good (and in some cases even better!) than the name brand of a product you eat regularly. There are some exceptions to that, my husband won't eat anything but Miracle Whip but for most other staples, from soup to nuts, literally, we get the store brand and find that it tastes just fine :)

LadyDi - 26259Miller
LadyDi - 26259Miller 2009-03-13 17:30:44 -0500 Report

All good suggestions/tips. I have always used coupons. Now I live alone, but continue to use them. For years I have used store brands for many things. There some brand name things I prefer, but most store brands are made by the major brands anyway. If you can watch the sales (2 for 1, etc.), that helps as well. A lot of what we purchase are what I call "convenience" foods, and those are always more expensive.

It is definitely tough to maintain a healthy lifestyle when everything is so high, but you have to do a little planning ahead and shop smart.

Lisa Ann
Lisa Ann 2009-03-13 18:04:02 -0500 Report

I work for Kroger manufacturing and Krogers makes alot of name brand stuff and yes Kroger brand is just as good as most name brands. As for Miracle Whip I think it is pretty much the same as Kroger brand.

BeckyJ 2009-03-13 19:04:51 -0500 Report

I too use a lot of the Kroger brand items and can't tell the difference. In fact I prefer their vegetables in most cases because they have a little less salt. Like others my Dad refuses to use anything but Miracle Whip and for some reason will only use Peter Pan P.B. last year when there was a recall he just about went into withdrawl. He has a piece of wheat bread with Peter Pan everyday when he gets home from work. Same pattern for 20 years. Most items though you really can't tell the diff and at about 5-10%m less the savings add up. I also have a garden for most produce but when I had my appt just didn't have the room so we started a community garden in the courtyard. Took us about 3mos of petitioning the landlord but it was beautiful when we got it in…and great therapy too!

sparkysmom 2009-03-13 19:51:53 -0500 Report

I also use a lot of Kroger store brand items. I also buy my double fibre bread from the bread discount store. Last week the bread was on sale and I put 10 loaves in my big freezer. It was only .50 a loaf.

Bluebutterfly 2009-03-14 13:54:23 -0500 Report

Hi Lisa Ann,
I worked for Kroger manufacturing here in the south. We made the ice cream novelties,cheeseballs,and ice cream cakes. I retired there in 2003. I worked for them for 30 years.I wonder if you ever heard of Southern Ice Cream Specialties? The Kroger brand,I have found is as good if not better than the brand name.I guess all chain stores carry their brand cheaper,would be worth looking into maybe save a few bucks.

Lisa Ann
Lisa Ann 2009-03-14 15:08:40 -0500 Report

Yeah I've heard of Southern Ice Cream. I work for Springdale Ice Cream & Beverage. We make Krogers pop and ice cream. We also make pop for some other stores other than Krogers. I've worked there for 14 years And my husband has worked there for 15 years.

jsd2005 2009-03-19 04:52:25 -0500 Report

An Aldi's is a great store and has many wonderful produce and fresh vegetables very reasonably priced. As well as many other items, not name brand, but just as good extremely well priced.

LadyDi - 26259Miller
LadyDi - 26259Miller 2009-03-19 08:15:14 -0500 Report

Aldi's does have good prices. HOWEVER, I have noticed that they also can be higher than others in some cases. Like other stores, they do not always have the best price. It pays to take advantage of 2-for-1 sales, $1 sales, etc, whenever you see those. It also pays to watch flyers and use coupons, no matter where you shop. I don't advocate driving all over time for various items, but sometimes making a special trip for a specific sale does make sense…especially if you have the space to stock up.

vgarrison 2009-03-19 16:27:31 -0500 Report

Lady Di,

I agree, there is no use driving all over tarnation trying to save 12 cents. I sometimes shop at the super Walmart, and they match all sales prices. I have found 2 other store in my area that price match. Most do not advertise this feature, so be sure to ask…that never hurts, and it can save you alot of money!!


John Crowley
John Crowley 2009-03-13 16:52:36 -0500 Report

I hear your concerns. But I also think that (to use your same example), that $1.00 loaf of white bread has no substance to it. Not only is it unhealthy, but you're hungry 10 minutes after eating your sandwich. Whereas with the good, healthy wheat bread, it has more substance to it and it actually makes you feel full longer.

I find this to be the case with so many unhealthy foods—when you really look at it, you'll end up eating more because they're full of empty calories.

But I know that doesn't make it any easier when you're standing there in the grocery store. But hang in there. It's worth your health in the end.

LadyDi - 26259Miller
LadyDi - 26259Miller 2009-03-13 17:25:54 -0500 Report

And think about the cost involved when we neglect our health.

jsd2005 2009-03-19 04:46:42 -0500 Report

I agree, it is so much less expensive to be pro-active than reactive. Hang in there. You're efforts in trying will prove fruitful if you can be resourceful and disciplined with your lifestyle.

I also agree, a garden is an absolutely wonderful way to get so many healthy fruits and vegetables and you can eat them fresh, cook them and can or freeze them. it's a great way to stretch the other dollars.

Cyberia3716 2009-03-23 14:03:21 -0500 Report

Your right ..I live in a apartment but have a good size balcony…so I got some large planters last year and grew tomato's It wasnt much but with the price of produce it was a very cost effective step.

lipsie 2009-03-23 14:48:43 -0500 Report

That's a really good idea!! I need to do something like that, if the neighboors wouldn't destroy them first here though! Sheila