I stood in the bread aisle of Kroger Monday night and had this realization: The decisions I make in each these aisles affect my health -- not just my physical well-being, but also my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I know that seems like a lot of pressure to put on a loaf of bread, but let me explain…
As a college kid trying to learn to cook for myself and navigate the grocery store aisles, I’m looking for two things: cheap and simple. And so, I’ve been eating a lot of chicken nuggets lately.
My mom always taught me the importance of eating healthy and well-balanced meals, but now that I’m relying on my own cooking skills and using my own time and money to prepare them, I tend to opt for the less healthy options. Chicken breast with green beans and potatoes…or chicken nuggets and sweet potato fries? The latter is a lot easier and cheaper too, so naturally, that’s what I choose.
But on Monday night as I stared at two different loaves of bread, I thought to myself, “Really Calli, you’re not willing to spend one extra dollar to get a healthier whole wheat bread that you know is going to be better for you?”
I made decisions like that a lot last semester. I’d buy the more sugary trail mix or crackers instead of fruits and veggies just because it was cheaper. And each time I chose the less healthy option simply because it was cheaper, I was basically telling myself, “I’m not willing to spend money on better food for you, so I don’t think your health isn’t that important. It’s just food. You’ll be fine.”
After I realized that, I decided to “treat myself” to the better bread (also, the better bread was Pepperidge Farm bread and I am hoping to be sponsored by them someday, so I figured I better start sticking to the brand, but that is beside the point). I wanted to start treating my body better. I felt excited. I even called my mom to tell her about it.
That choice, as simple and stupid as it may seem, was important to me because I was putting my health first. And when you put your health first, you’re telling yourself that you value you. The more you value yourself, the stronger your self-esteem will be. Your metal and emotional health will improve and you’ll begin to see yourself a little bit more as God sees you.
This might just be a dramatic grocery shopping story, but I think there’s an important lesson to be learned here: if you really want to value yourself and live a purpose-filled life, you’ve got to make the choices that are going to support that desire, and maybe that starts with what you eat. Don’t cheat yourself to save a couple bucks. You and your health are worth far more.