Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wellness Wednesday

When I watched the movie Food Inc., I was disturbed by a scene where a low-income family was comparing the price of the foods on a dollar menu at a fast food restaurant to the cost of an organic apple. The family used that comparison to prove that they could not afford to eat healthy. And that has been bothering me for years because 1) it was almost an apples to oranges comparison (in this case apples to fries); 2) the apple was probably out of season and it definitely wasn't local; and 3) they didn't show there was a middle ground - conventional whole foods are still better than fast food.

I recently started thinking about how some processed foods compared, pound-for-pound, with conventional produce. Today, while at our local grocery store (part of a nation-wide chain), I checked on the price of Doritos. Even on "sale," the price worked out to $3.99 a pound! I compared that to apples which were $0.79 a pound. Certainly makes the chips look over priced. And of course, you get health benefits from the apple; you get...fat from the chips. I also checked out the price of conventional brown rice. It was $0.77 for a one pound bag that makes 11 servings. That's 7 cents a serving.
Potato Texture
So my health tip today is to compare prices by looking at the size and weight. (The Doritos at $3.99 a pound was a real eyeopener.) While not everyone can afford to purchase all their groceries at a place like Whole Foods, don't overlook the great deals on frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as brown rice, dried beans, and even fresh produce that is in season. Not only is it healthier, but real food will fill you up. Think about how many chips you need to eat before feeling full and then consider how many potatoes it would take to fill your stomach. Not only will, pound-for-pound, the potatoes be cheaper, you will eat less which will make your money stretch even further.


David said...

Cherie, I'm finding out that it's not the cost that keeps people from eating healthy. Even those that have the money don't eat healthy most of the time. What is the real issue is the inconvenience. To eat healthy, food must be cooked and served at home. Clean up after the meal takes time. The real issue is time. We have become such a busy culture that eating has become a nuisance that must be endured quick as possible instead of an enjoyable time around the table slow eating with conversation of the days experiences. I have had to teach people to slow eat at restaurants. Most folks are shovel in a big bite followed by two or three chomps and big swig of drink to wash it down. In 15 minutes they are drumming their nervous fingers on the table wanting to be on to the next thing. Meals of today are either brought home in a bucket or consumed on the way between one place and another. Food is not very high on the priority in time management.

I'm not perfect in this area either. I do like a cheese burger once in a while and get fries with that but it's a treat and not a way of life. My potatoes are usually cooked the old fashion way in an oven or a pot. A little butter and Mrs. Dash for seasoning and yum can't beat it. Quite frankly, I think it tastes better than fries.

Have a great organic food day.

Cherie said...

David, you are right about the inconvenience - but people use the excuse that it's too costly. I understand about the restaurants. When I returned from my first trip to Haiti and stopped in a restaurant on my way back from the airport, I observed customers as they ate. It made me ill watching them shovel food in their mouths as I thought about how precious food was for people in Haiti. And of course, treats are fine - none of us is perfect - but the Standard American Diet has turned into one big treat. Have a good day!

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

I cannot remember the name of the book right now, but it centered around the author working in 3 aspects of the food industry. She picked onions in CA for a few months and lived off the wages she earned, eating a lot of beans and rice. The second part was her working at a Walmart in MI and ate a lot of cabbage and again, rice and beans. Lastly she worked at a Friday's in Manhattan where she got a % discount off a meal at each shift. As I recall, this her meals were still out of her price range, but she went for cheaper dishes and stuff that she was OK eating having spent a lot of time in the kitchen and learning what to order and what not to order. While working in the first 2 locations she talked about learning to eat well on the cheap, listing ingredients that fit within the budget of someone who would be considered working poor.

I started reconsidering cabbage and actually include it a lot more in my meals. Even at the farmers market it's super cheap.

Cherie said...

Shona, if you remember the name of the book let me know.