The Mental Toll of Inflation on Healthy Eating Choices

By Published On: December 14th, 20231381 wordsViews: 64
The Mental Toll of Inflation on Healthy Eating Choices | Grain Free Mamas

In an era where inflation has become a prominent global issue, consumers worldwide are facing a challenging dilemma: how to maintain a healthy diet amidst the soaring costs of groceries. This situation is not just a financial strain but also a significant mental burden, especially for those committed to consuming natural, nutritious foods.

The retailers and food manufacturing companies have also felt the squeeze, from supply chain interruptions to rising costs of raw ingredients to the skyrocketing price of transportation.  These rising costs were passed down to consumers. ‘Shrinkflation’ (whereby package sizes decreased while price simultaneously rose) became a thing. The end users, the consumers, took it in the pocketbook and inflation rose out of control.

At the same time, rents were increased by 1/3 for the rental population. The stimulus payments and unemployment checks that were all gleefully accepted during the pandemic are now being exacted on the other end. What a difficult time!

Eating healthy for many has now become a secondary priority when money is scarce for rent, car payments, insurance, gas, etc. but at what long-term cost?

Does it have to be this way or does our mindset need a shift?

As prices rise, the cost of natural and organic products, often seen as the cornerstone of a healthy diet, becomes increasingly prohibitive for the average consumer. This shift is particularly distressing for me, the Founder/CEO of Grain Free Mama’s, and Natural Food Scientist. I understand the profound impact of diet on overall health and wellbeing. The choice between affordable but less nutritious options and expensive health-oriented foods creates a troubling paradox.

The consumers aren’t the only affected entities. I have personally seen many small and emerging healthier food brands go out of business or enter strategic merger & acquisitions, buyouts, etc. to avoid going bankrupt or to be able to grow and scale to stabilize the businesses. For the larger corporations, this time is a gold mine.  As it is often said, more millionaires are made during an economic slowdown than during a robust economy.  They can acquire the rising competition for pennies on the dollar.

What does this mean for consumers? When you see new packaging and/or new package sizes, or a company suddenly launches way more product offerings, beware! Reread the ingredients lists and labels. This is frequently an indication that the company has been bought out in some fashion, and the way that a larger corporation can increase profit immediately is to substitute the healthier, cleaner ingredients for cheaper ingredients. For the 10-30% of the population that cannot eat the cheap filler ingredients, mostly from grains, corn, rice, and sugar cane (the Edible Grasses) or soy; this can mean the difference between being able to safely eat these products or getting sick. Not a fair tradeoff!

So, we must be more strategic to be able to continue to eat a cleaner, healthier diet despite inflation. Start a garden at your house, whatever the size. Buy local, from farm markets and local businesses, as much as possible. I have made it my goal to purchase 90% of my purchases (foods and goods) from women-owned, local, and family-owned small businesses. I am committed to helping to support these fellow businesses and people who are, like me, determined to be a part of a change to affordable, good-for-you foods and products.

What about you? I challenge you to also join this goal with me.

The mental toll of this situation is multi-faceted. There’s the stress of managing a tighter budget, the guilt associated with potentially compromising on food quality, and the decision fatigue that comes from constantly weighing nutritional value against cost. This psychological burden can be as detrimental as the physical effects of a less nutritious diet.  It is vital that we make a mind shift to see the possibilities to keep a positive outlook. This is not the first economic meltdown in the world’s history. It will pass, and in the aftermath we will value our health even more.

For many, the financial strain leads to compromises in their diet. Prioritizing cheaper, calorie-dense foods that are often processed and lack essential nutrients can have long-term health implications. This shift not only affects physical health but also contributes to a sense of defeat for those who value and understand the importance of natural, whole foods in their diet. It works like this.

  • We feel the financial burden, so we start to cut corners.
  • We then downgrade our food purchasing choices which results in our consumption of more processed cheap foods.
  • Our sleep quality begins to decay as our digestive systems become more overwhelmed trying to digest these processed foods.
  • Our energy levels decrease, which then leads to higher levels of stress. We feel depressed as life’s challenges seem bigger and we are more and more exhausted.
  • We reach for more caffeine and sugary foods to boost our energy so we can do what we need to do, but then the blood sugar swings commence, and it feels like we are a hamster on a wheel.

On a societal level, this issue reflects broader economic disparities and highlights the need for more accessible healthy food options. As inflation continues, the gap between those who can afford a nutritious diet and those who cannot widens, exacerbating existing health inequalities.

Our goal, at Grain Free Mama’s, is to be a part of the solution. It is something we are excited about, so follow us, sign up for our newsletter, and if you are an angel investor, contact me! We are raising our Pre-Seed capital and I welcome interested investors.

To finish, here are four areas to consider before you just give in and buy cheaper foods.

  1. Budget-Friendly Healthy Eating: Exploring cost-effective yet healthy options, like bulk-buying whole foods or choosing seasonal produce, can help mitigate some financial strain. One of the most important reasons we changed our domain name and launched our brand-new grainfreemamas.com website was to be able to bring all our products and services under one roof. We are extremely passionate about offering our ‘tribe’ the best prices and discounts on our products, and now we have a subscription service available. That’s right – hit the easy button with Grain Free Mama’s baking mixes.
  2. Mental Health Support: Recognizing the mental toll of this situation is crucial. Seeking support, whether through community groups or professional help, can provide relief and coping strategies. This is why we launched our online community, A Place At The Table. Staying ahead of all the food product changes and truths can be overwhelming! It takes a community to stay in the know. There are informative discussions, articles, innovative recipes, webinars, and posts outlining labelling, processing, and agricultural trends to keep you well informed so you can more easily make informed food choices that work for you. Join here.
  3. Advocacy and Awareness: Raising awareness about the impact of inflation on diet choices and advocating for policies that make healthy foods more affordable are long-term solutions that can benefit the wider community. This is another facet that we are planning for as our community and brand grow. We believe that we can all band together and make a difference with the strength of our combined voices. We can be the change that we want to see.
  4. Innovative Solutions: Entrepreneurs and companies in the food industry, like Grain Free Mama’s, play a crucial role in offering innovative, healthy food products that cater to budget-conscious consumers. Another innovative solution is found in our Food Breakthrough Book and Cookbook. Do you or family members and friends need some healthy knowledge and delicious no compromise recipes? This could be the best Christmas gift you have ever given to yourself or to a loved one.

To conclude, the mental toll of inflation on consumers’ food choices is a complex issue, intertwining financial pressures with nutritional concerns. It’s a challenge that calls for individual resilience, community support, and systemic change. By acknowledging and addressing both the economic and psychological aspects of this dilemma, society can move towards a future where healthy eating is accessible and affordable for all, regardless of economic constraints. We can do this people! Join with me in creating a new, fresh path to incredible health and vitality of life.

Margie Traxler | Owner, Grain Free Mamas

Written by Margie Traxler
Grain Free Mama’s is a FoodTech Consumer Product Goods company. We make gluten/grain/sugar free (Edible Grasses Free), dairy free and botanical nut free baking mixes that put the simple back into simply good for you. We also have educational resources to help you on your healthy eating journey. Margie, the Founder/CEO, received her B.S. in Biology from Portland State University. She has 22 years of experience as a successful Restaurant owner. She lives and operates her business in Henderson, Nevada.

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