UNITED STATES—Eating healthy is not easy America. I try and I try, but we all have weaknesses and we do our best to battle them. A recent trip to the doctor made me realize that I have to do a bit more to put my health in a better light. For starters, I have completely eliminated pop/soda/soft drinks, whatever you call it depending on the region in the United States that you live in.

It’s not healthy because of the amount of sugar in carbonated drinks, not to mention the number of calories. It’s been close to a month, and if I have to be honest, it was difficult for maybe 2-3 days, but it’s been close to a month now, and I do not miss it and I no longer crave it. So I’ve substituted that with consuming more water and just limiting my intake of heavy drinks loaded with sugar.

I’m someone who loves sweets, particularly a good brownie, slice of cake or slice of cheesecake. Do I eat these items every day? No. Do I eat them each week? No, I’m just starting to realize there is a way to have a sweet or treat without it being super consumed with fat, carbohydrates and sugar. The point I’m trying to make is that I’m more aware and in tune with the fact that there are things I just shouldn’t be eating all the time.

When it comes to fruit and vegetables I do my best. I love fresh fruit and I love fresh veggies. There is something about the taste that is so satisfying and fulling. With that being said, my biggest gripe is the shelf life of fruits and vegetables; they just don’t last that long America and I hate wasting money. I’m a firm believer if you take $20 bucks you can do a lot of damage purchasing fruits and veggies. Now, of course you can make the argument that certain fruits are higher than vegetables and I must agree.

I mean watermelon, pineapples, cantaloupes, honeydews, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, apricots, grapes, let’s be honest all fruit is quite pricey compared to veggies. This really just popped into my head and I need to do more research on this to find out why the price of fruit is significantly higher than veggies. I do wish the price of many fruits would drop in price because it would allow you to purchase more and have a piece of fruit as a snack, versus a sweet like a cookie, brownie, candy or piece of cake or something else.

This brings my attention to gluten-free and organic food items. I think what Whole Foods does is great, but not in a million years could I ever shop at the establishment. The company just doesn’t fit into my budget. What I spend at other local markets gets me a ton of groceries, but $100 at Whole Foods might only give me 10 or 15 items or less depending on what is purchased. I do believe there is some truth to gluten-free foods, but organic, not buying it.

I studied organic versus non-organic foods a ton in college and learned that there is not much of a difference between the two expect one has pesticides sprayed on them, while the other does not. When it comes to fruits and veggies, I would NEVER eat any without thoroughly washing them. It is vital to clean all fruits and veggies and to me, that’s both organic and non-organic. I mean we now have organic water, so what the hell is next: air?

If the studies and doctors are arguing we need to eat heathier, it should be a key to ensure those healthier foods are made more affordable. You cannot expect people to eat healthy when they don’t have those options available to them, not to mention its pricier it takes no rocket scientist to make the decision to allow those dollars to stretch because in the long run money doesn’t grow on trees and you have to do the best to work with what you have especially if you’re on a budget.

Written By Kelsey Thomas