By guest blogger and leading health-and-wellness expert Jillian Michaels
Here's a statistic for you: One dollar will buy you 1,200 calories of processed garbage that will likely make you fat or sick, or both. Conversely, that same buck will only nab you 250 calories of healthy food (fruits, vegetables, organic meat, whole grains) that can help maintain a healthy body weight and prevent disease.
Bummer, right? What's wrong with this picture? How did this happen? While I can preach personal accountability until the cows come home with regards to health and wellness, the bottom line is that for most American families subsisting on 50K a year, 250 calories for a dollar doesn't cut it. Healthy food simply isn't accessible or affordable to them. It's tough to blame people for not living a lifestyle that is simply out of their reach.
Here's another stat for you: In the 1960s we spent 18 percent of our annual income on food. Today we spend 9 percent. But before you get too excited... In the 1960s we spent 5 percent of our annual income on health care. Today, we spend 17 percent. Yay? I think not. I don't know about you, but I would much rather spend that income on broccoli and chicken than on chemo treatments, Lipitor, or gastric bypass surgery.
As a result of these statistics, obesity and disease in America have run rampant. Two in three adults and one in three children are overweight. Diabetes, heart disease, and cancer rates have skyrocketed over the last 30 years. Our children are predicted to have a lesser life expectancy than their parents, for the first time in human history.
So what the hell is happening here? How has it come to pass that our food system sets Americans up to become fat and sick? Well, in large part we have our federal agribusiness policies to thank.
Although the USDA's food pyramid recommends two to five cups of fruits and vegetables per day, its budget--mandated by Congress through the Farm Bill--encourages different behavior altogether.
For the rest of this article and for a chance to win Jillian Michaels' book, "Unlimited". Go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.