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I was in line today behind a lady with a cart just as full as mine was. As she unloaded her purchases, I was noticing frozen, cooked foods, lunch meats, croissants, ice cream, cookies, and many other normal grocery purchases for the average American family. As she got her total from the checker, she was delighted to learn she had saved $61 using her club card. Her $202 purchase only cost her $141, and as a bonus, she got a long ream of coupons, nearly 2 feet long!

As she pulled her cart away with its bags full of ready-cooked foods for the weekend, I took her spot in front of the checker. “Well, hello,” I said. “I know I won’t save $61 with my club card and I bet my total is going to be higher than $202. I also bet you I won’t get that boat load of coupons, either.” I said cheerfully.

As the checker, a man who appeared to be older than me, began weighing and scanning my produce, he held up one produce bag and asked, “what is this?” “Vine tomatoes,” I answered.  Come on, I thought. He must know they are tomatoes…then he held up the next bag. “What is this?” he again asked. “Um, a leek,” I responded. Then he held up the next bag holding Mexican grey squash, “And what is this?” By this point I was beginning to get the picture. These vegetables were apparently purchased so rarely that he didn’t even know what they were.

When he had me all rung up, he announced, “$272 and you saved $12.01.” And handed me three coupons. For packaged foods. Seriously?

Hey, don’t get me wrong, I am so very grateful that I can go to my neighborhood grocery store and shop for organically grown produce, gluten-free products and goat cheeses without mold inhibitors. It really is a blessing. But what if the stores got the concept that we truly are what we eat?

Almost all of our body’s cells are constantly dying and being replaced. Some cells have a longer lifetime than others. Some cells, like the epithelial cells which line the stomach, only have a lifetime of 5 days. Our red blood cells are replaced every 120 days. The entire adult human skeleton is believed to be replaced cell by cell every 10 years.

The foods we eat provide the building blocks, energy and chemicals for our bodies to replace these cells. This is just one reason why it is so very important to eat whole foods, prepared as freshly as possible, to receive the strongest nutritional impact from them we can get.

I prefer to think of my $272 grocery order as a health insurance payment—a payment which will bring the benefits of less time off work due to sickness, lower medical bills and prayerfully, no catastrophic health crisis, such as cancer, heart disease or diabetes.  I like what Dr. Mark Hyman has to say about letting your kitchen be your FARMacy.