There once was a time when living well was not so hard. All we had to do was eat well and be aware of our surroundings. If we did that, we tended to be all right most of the time. It was that other fella that got in the way that upset the apple cart.

Today things are very different. While fruit and vegetables are a renewable resource and the advent of refrigeration and freezer trucks makes it available all over the nation, all year round, some places still seem to be left behind. Produce is not available to everyone simply because the grocer doesn’t provide it for his clients.

I know this to be true. I live in a small town in the Chicago Midwest. Population 9,000, there abouts. A few decades ago we were a self-sufficient community. Then a big box store moved into town and slowly but surely the downtown began to fail. It’s a familiar story. Many of you have experienced the same thing. Last month our last regular independent grocery store closed its doors for good. It tried everything in the last twenty years to stay open. It expanded. It shrunk. It changed into a cost plus food outlet center and then it just died. Today, I get my groceries from the big box store that closed down the downtown.

There you can find almost everything that the small mom and pop stores had. What it lacks is consistent service and quite a few of the essentials of a healthy life. You can get all the variety of chips, pops and snack foods but the real life sustaining foods are missing. When it comes to fruit – apples, oranges and bananas are the choices. In the summer you can get some additional fruits but these only last a few months and then they’re gone until the next year. To get actual food you have to leave town and go to a neighboring town.

Another problem is paying for this real food. Chips and pop are cheep. It’s easy to budget those items into the household accounts. But trying to figure out how to pay for peaches when they’re $2.99 a pound and a pound is only about 4 pieces of fruit can be frustrating. It’s gotten to the point that real, unprocessed foods have become luxury items. We buy them when a guest is coming over. Day to day life leaves no room for them and our health fails just as the grocery store in my town failed.

In this day and age we have so much at our fingertips and yet there seems to be a forgotten measure of life. We don’t think of ourselves as healthy people because we don’t think of our health and so we aren’t healthy anymore but we don’t know it. We have too many over-weight people and too many who are bordering fat that still think they have nothing to worry about. They look to their neighbor and say – well there’s a lot of us so I must be okay. That simply isn’t true. There are a lot of people who don’t pay any attention to what they’re doing to their bodies and that is wrong.

They decide to go to the doctor only when they are forced to and then if they don’t have insurance a bomb is let off over their heads. To get a doctor to look at you and do some lab work the cost has reached $800 for the uninsured. If you forgo the lab and just do the question and answer portion of the exam it still costs enough to make you wince. It’s reached the exorbitant rate of $200. Now with prices like that it seems that we should be extra sure to watch our diets. It might cost more to eat healthy but in the long run it costs less and we feel better.