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PBAILEY06 Posts: 267
5/15/13 1:46 P

My parents had a great garden and helped feed a family of 7 on it. I tried for years to garden and didn't do well. I just started using grow bags and a raised bed and have done a lot better. Gardening can be complex but don't give up! Take a look at container gardening, it worked for me, I think becaus everything was all together.

Paula

INTOTHENEW SparkPoints: (7,179)
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5/14/13 3:54 P

As has been mentioned many times, get off your butt and start a garden. Compost can be home "brewed", just add your vegetable scraps, lawn clippings, eggshells, leaf litter, etc. etc. for a fantastic soil amendment.

Two things that I haven't seen mentioned:

1. If you do take the whole food plunge, be sure and track vitamins and minerals. Make sure you are smarter than the demon scientist/system that you have let cook for you. Some of the "processing" is fortification. That has helped many a youngster in "this country" grow up relatively healthy. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

2. For the cost of a bullet, you can have a large quantity of meat. For the cost of a hook and line(or less if you are creative), you can serve fish. But, you have to get off your butt to do those things.

"They" make it convenient, that's what "they" do. You want it convenient, have it your way. I prefer to work for it, there's an intimacy of knowledge and a strong sense of self reliance that comes with that.

FANCYQTR Posts: 5,427
5/14/13 3:37 P

I don't think it is cold weather that keep my tomatoes from growing because others get nice tomatoes. My Dad used to have tons of tomatoes in the same yard and ground. Thanks for all the information. I have a leaky faucet out back, so I am going to run a soaker hose over the garden when I get it planted from that faucet. I can't afford to get the faucet fixed because they have to come in and cut it out and put a new one in. The last one I had done was at least 10 years ago and cost well over $200 then, so I know it would be at least $400 now. During the summer, though, it will be an advantage for watering the garden.

Boy, you have a nice price for your compost/manure. Here it is $6 for the cheap bags.

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (57,995)
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5/14/13 2:18 P

Well, tomatoes will not grow absolutely everywhere. Could your climate in Colorado be too cold?

Generally what you need to do is decide whether you want a vine tomato (indeterminate) or a bush tomato (determinate). Unless you have a way to trellice, pick a bush tomato which can more easily be supported with a wire cage.

Select the variety that you want--cherry, paste, or slicer--and ask your nursery for recommendations. Dig a hole in a sunny spot that is about twice as big as the pot the plant came in. Loosen up the soil and then put the following things in the bottom: the shells of 2-3 eggs, smashed up; three handfuls of bone meal; 2 handfuls of lime; two ground-up aspirin. Mix this stuff around with the soil a bit and put the tomato plant on top. You can bury the tomato 3-6 inches deeper than it was in its original pot, which gives it good roots. Pinch off any vines that are low to the ground. Cover with dirt, pat down and water throughly.

I water my tomatoes just a little bit almost every day, from the ground--they don't like to get their leaves wet. Pinch off any suckers as they grow because those will take energy away from the plant and result in less fruit. I fertilize about once a week with Miracle Gro in the water and that is about it.

You are right about manure--it needs to compost for about a year before you can use it in the garden. The heat of the composting process sterilizes it. Where I live, you can buy a big bag of composted (finished, ready to use) steer manure for about $1.50. I can throw about four of these in the trunk of my car. Tomatoes love compost of any kind.

Good luck!

FANCYQTR Posts: 5,427
5/14/13 4:26 A

My friend got me some compost dirt to put in the garden. I don't have anything to get the stuff with myself. I got some manure, but they say not to use that anymore because of the e-coli that can be in it, so I have to dump it in the corner and add stuff to compost it and then hope it will be okay next year to use. My uncle used to use it and he got huge, good tomatoes. In pots or in the ground the last at least 6 years I have only gotten 2 cherry tomato size tomatoes and the last couple of years from the really large plants. So it is obvious that not everyone can be successful growing gardens. I keep trying though. My seeds and transplants are free, so I can keep trying and maybe I will eventually get it right. But currently I just don't know anything.

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (57,995)
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5/14/13 12:14 A

Fancy, you are right about light--not everything will grow in the shade. You also need good soil (which usually requires turning with a spade and adding some compost and peat moss) and enough space for large plants.

If you select smaller "patio" varieties, you CAN grow some vine plants in boxes. I've grown cue ball zucchini in a 2' x 4' raised bed space. There are lots of things that will grow well in pots with some care. Bush tomatoes are easy to grow, as are green onions, radishes, lettuces and spinach. A person with three big pots on a patio, deck or sidewalk could grow a lot of their own salad with very minimal effort and investment.

There are many good, free resources for learning about gardening. Public libraries have books and magazines on the topic. I recommend the Square Foot Gardening method as it works well and is very efficient. Pretty much every library will have books on this way of gardening, plus there is a PBS TV series and lots of information online.

Many states have extension services which provide Master Gardeners (info. and advice specific to your area) as well as resources on canning and food preservation.

I've also found great resources for gardening and food prep/preservation on Pinterest. I haven't been able to garden for several years and I am growing several things that I haven't tried ever or in a long time...but with Pinterest, I can easily look up and save any piece of information that I need.

Edited by: AZULVIOLETA6 at: 5/14/2013 (14:21)
EXOTEC Posts: 3,171
5/13/13 10:53 P

Check Wagon Wheel flea market. They have an exceptionally fine farmers' market section - many things from diverse cultures and interesting to try! from what I've seen, many of them are very willing to "haggle" with you over their wares.

I know Tampa is a pretty long haul from St. Pete...but if you could manage a once-a-month excursion, the big produce market there (Hillsborough?) is a wonderful resource. Granted, you'd have to do a lot of your own post-prep work and freeze or can a majority...but the price would be right. Yes, lots of that produce is imported - it's the same place most small grocers or even market vendors get their goods...but it would cut out at least one tier in the marketing ladder, which might result in more dollars left in your wallet.

I know absolutely that you can have chickens, at least in Largo. You don't need *many* chickens to produce a goodly portion of your consumption. A relative's neighbor had a pair of chickens in her neighborhood/subdivision yard...as "pets." Hens, naturally. I think rooster shenanigans wouldn't set so well...but then, roosters aren't really good for much unless you're raising more chicks or eating the "boys" while they're still young enough.

As for the meat...there are buyer cooperatives, CSAs and the like, which will help you reach their minimum weight amount. In a situation like that, you wouldn't have to make frequent trips to pick up the meat. You could share the expense of pick-up with others in your group (yes, you might have to organize that yourself)... but it would even out for each member, and save your having to calculate that expense into every run. I can't remember the dairy there...but many dairies will sell their young bull calves for inexpensive...they don't have much use for them outside the veal trade. I'm sure you could find dairies in the phone book or on a 'net search. Worth the effort to check into, at least.

I second the suggestion for a garden. I've seen absolutely beautiful "yards" which are pretty much nothing but edible plants. You don't have to grow EVERYthing...but perhaps it would save you some nickels to grow the things you eat the most of, thereby reserving your limited dollars to things which aren't suited to your locality. Believe me, if I wasn't in an apartment, I'd absolutely be "growing my own." I'm longing for a real, honest, vine-ripened honeydew melon...and you can't get one ANYwhere anymore. Most of our produce is picked green and force-ripened by gas or what-have-you. It's wholly unacceptable.

And, not to assume, but if you're here, I'm thinking that some form of weight loss is in your mind, and gardening is an excellent low-impact method of activity. And most good trainers or specialists will agree that increased activity is of far greater benefit than what we've been conditioned to think of as "exercise." It's also a great thing to be teaching young children. I can't even describe my amazement to have heard of a child answering a question about where a particular food came from, and answering "the grocery", or "a box." They have no idea where foods come from. How will that hold up, if anything ever happens to our food chain?

The down side of all this is that you're right: we're pushed toward foods which line the pockets of the producers. They're big interests and big influences of governmental policy. Check the goal and mission statement for the USDA; part of (the biggest part of?) their intent is to support and encourage the food industry. There's no directive about HOW they do that. In action, that becomes whatever best benefits those interests, not especially what's best for the consumer. If it makes you sick (or not healthy)? well! hey. Enter the pharmaceutical giants. They can give you a drug to fix that! or so they'd have you believe.

So yes, be angry. Be so angry you reject the dogma and dictatorial nutritional flack we're subjected to. Be so angry you DO SOMETHING about it. Take what control you can, in whatever tiny steps you can manage. Just don't let it drive you into the chute they're aiming you for, which is to make all the wrong things the only ones you can afford: beans, soy, GMOs... surround yourself with as much real, whole food as you can manage. You're not the only one in this predicament. Help yourself and those others around you by getting together to make it a workable and affordable choice. It can be done. It can't be done simply by complaint and dissatisfaction...but it CAN happen.

Just like we're doing here, we lose weight one pound at a time. One day at a time. If we're not perfect in it, we perfect what we can, pick ourselves up, and aim for the next small goal. So we can do it. You can do it. Sometimes it's as much about determination as it is about dollars.

Best wishes and great luck in finding your way through to better nutritional health!
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Edited by: EXOTEC at: 5/13/2013 (22:56)
CJ2BHEALTHY SparkPoints: (15,309)
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5/13/13 9:16 P

Agree with Anarie.....well said!

FANCYQTR Posts: 5,427
5/13/13 9:03 P

I keep trying to garden but haven't had any luck so far. Last year I got a lot of seedlings started, plus the transplants I ordered and they all died before I could even get any spot in the ground dug up to plant them. This year I have some seedlings coming up and many already dead. They never got big enough to plant outside. I have always been in the city and never learned canning or preserving, but I hope to if anything ever grows. I am not sure what all will grow around here. I have pumpkin seeds, but when I've tried them before I got 1" pumpkins. Same with melons. I know that zucchini will grow in the area and I have winter squash to try. Most of the property here is in shade, so it might be a problem. I have picked out the only place that might be sunny enough for a garden. That is a way that I would like to limit what is in my food. When I buy stuff I look for the all natural. I buy organic once in a while when it is on sale.

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (57,995)
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5/13/13 8:36 P

Can't you start your own garden and do some of your own canning/freezing and food preparation?

I have a big salad/herb/tomato garden on my terrace and a garden plot. Community garden space is very limited where I live, but my SO talked his employer into letting us use a 15 x 30 plot of empty land for a garden. We've spent about $300 getting amendments, seeds and plants, but we shouldn't have to buy any salad ingredients all summer. We will have tons of fresh veggies from July into the fall, plus we will be able to to can and freeze a significant percentage of our vegetables to last through the winter. Some things in our garden will keep for a while in a cool place (3 kinds of potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, pumpkins) and others (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds) can be dried.

We also pick fresh fruit (sometimes this is even free for things like blackberries) and we will can and freeze those, both as jam and as whole fruit for smoothies, etc.

There are SOME things that you can do, even with a very limited income. These things take planning and effort.

Edited by: AZULVIOLETA6 at: 5/13/2013 (23:59)
ANARIE Posts: 12,414
5/13/13 2:25 P

FancyQTR,

I'm not ignoring people's limitations. I know all about limitations. I live in a food desert AND a literal desert. I'm 87 miles from the nearest supermarket, through dangerous mountains and desert, in a place where gas costs $4 and there is NO public transportation. I don't go shopping more than once a month, except for a very limited number of things I can get at the general store where prices are pretty similar to a gas station convenience store. ($4.00 a dozen for eggs yesterday.) It's a desert, so gardening is winter only. I have a two-burner propane stove and an oven the size of about three cereal boxes. Unless someone is literally homeless, they have more facilities and access to quality shopping than I do.

And yet I eat healthy for $50 a month or less. I plan, I cook for myself, and I don't waste anything.

I used a few examples of foods that are cheap and easy to make, but the fact is, except for meat and seasonal produce, there's very little basic food that you can't make yourself, or find a substitute for, if you think the version in the grocery store is harmful. And no, you won't always get to eat everything you like. If you think regular ham is bad for you but you can't afford "natural" ham, then you don't have to eat ham. You said it yourself, "I LIKE to have something like ham." You don't need it, though. You can make sandwiches out of something you make yourself, or something less expensive.

And heaven knows I'm not doing all I could. For just one example, I complain about the price of eggs. Well, the guy up the road is selling chicks for $1 (and if I didn't have money, he would probably give me some for free in exchange for watching his store for an hour), and there's scrap wood behind an abandoned building that I could just take and people would be thankful to me for cleaning it up. I could easily build a coop, keep chickens, and have fresh organic eggs. But I happen to hate chickens and I don't want to do it. That's my choice, and I'm perfectly aware that I'm making it. There are ranchers and farmers who will give you organic or near-organic meat in exchange for going out to their place and working for them for just a few hours a month, but I had enough of farm work as a child and I choose not to do that, either. And I don't *have* to. I save enough by doing simple things like the bread and yogurt so I can afford to buy meat if I really want it.

The point I'm trying to make is that, with very few exceptions, no one is trapped. Whether you have money or not, if you have hands and a brain, you can choose to be in control. But nothing is free, either. If you want better quality, you can either pay for it or work for it. There are a number of reasons people can't do the first, but there's no one on earth who can stop you from doing the second. And if you have internet service, you have instant access to the knowledge of how to do it. "Where there's a will, there's a way" has never been more true. (It took me 35 seconds to learn that you *can* make your own ham, and it's not even hard!)

I'm not saying it's easy. But the original poster to this thread was a perfectly healthy adult human being with plenty of time on her hands, who was complaining about what "they" put in her food, as if there was nothing she could do about it. I don't think people should be blamed for their choices, but they need to recognize that they are making choices and not blame the people who are trying to help them. She's blaming a system that GIVES her food because that food isn't exactly what she wants.

As a great 20th-century philosopher once put it, "You can't always get what you want. But if you TRY sometime, you just might find you can get what you need."



FANCYQTR Posts: 5,427
5/13/13 1:22 P

I know that down by the hospital there is one grocery store 5 blocks north and I'm not too sure how far west (it's on a diagonal road). That is 1300 north. South from there and east of the hospatal 3 blocks it is 10 blocks south to a really expensive indoor farmers market. The next closer grocery that I know of is several blocks further east. And south is about 3000 south. There might be something small that is closer, but I have not seen anything. That area is very low income and there are people disabled around there who cannot get around to those grocery stores.

I think when people are talking about produce, there is a lot of difference in what there is available in different areas, too. There is also a lot of problems with different foods for different people. I have tried eating eggplant several times and get sick every time. I can eat one type of bean, at least processed the way it is. I think I have had it made by friends before, though, and couldn't eat it that way. All the others make me completely sick. I am sure there are other people who have the same problems. In fact, there is a team on Spark that is for people with those problems and there are a lot of us on it. So Anarie's statements don't apply to everyone, whether she thinks they do or not.

I have asked before how to get certain nutrition without having the money to get much and with the medical limitations I have and constantly get told to have beans and rice, even though I have said I cannot have them. I also have to limit soy for medical reasons. But people assume that everyone can eat beans and rice and if they are low income they can get that whether it will cause problems physically/medically or not. That is why I object to statements that people believe cover everyone.

Edited by: FANCYQTR at: 5/13/2013 (13:26)
OBIESMOM2 SparkPoints: (61,493)
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5/13/13 12:38 P

well said, Anarie

also, you have to look at the big picture. You eat something from the .99 menu - say...2 meals a day, 5 days each week. How much is that going to cost you down the road in medical expenses? In missed work days because you get sick more often than if you eat healthy?

although I was NOT a fan of the docudrama "Super Size Me", I was really surprised by one thing: the liver damage. You CAN eat healthy every meal at a McDonald's. But will you? Probably not...so stay away from MCD!!! And I think he was successful in getting them to stop asking "super size it?"

It's the same thing many of us do by not bringing home our 'trigger' foods. If you know you cannot handle the temptation, STAY AWAY.

ETA - Fancy, you make a good point. Many folks do not realize that in some inner city areas there is NO fresh produce available. Very few grocery stores even.

Edited by: OBIESMOM2 at: 5/13/2013 (12:40)
FANCYQTR Posts: 5,427
5/13/13 12:15 P

I have been trying to grow my own vegetables for the last 6 years. I average 2 tomatoes a year (not the plants, the actual fruit). I grow herbs in pots. I currently have several seeds started, but they are dying like they did last year. I seldom eat processed foods, but do like to have something like ham to make sandwiches with so I have something that is easy to take with if I am going to be away from home and I won't have to go to the fast food place to get lunch. It is very hard to find the all natural ham unless you get the deli-sliced ham that has 3 or 4 ounces for $4.

You are on a pretty high horse. Yes, the majority of obesity is caused by eating too much and not enough exercise. But that is not the only cause and you do not acknowledge that for some people that isn't the cause.

There are some people who don't have the facilities to make everything from scratch, either, so they can eat what there are all the additives in or eat nothing at all. Many people who are trying to eat healthier are doing the best they can with what they can.

There are also people who cannot eat some of the things you say to eat. Well, I guess could eat those beans and I would lose weight -- FAST. I would also end up in the hospital and severely dehydrated, no matter how much water I drank. You think you know what everyone can eat, but that isn't always the case.

Edited by: FANCYQTR at: 5/13/2013 (12:19)
ANARIE Posts: 12,414
5/13/13 11:56 A

If you don't like the way food is grown in this country, get off your butt and grow your own. That's especially true if you're on assistance. If you're not working, you have plenty of time. You don't have to buy ANYTHING that you think is "full of chemicals."

Or just don't buy any processed foods. If all you ever buy is milk, beans, flour, eggs, raw fruit and veggies, whole grains, and spices, you can afford all organic. Put in the work to cook those things yourself instead of paying for the processing, and you can feed a family all-organic on $150 a month.

You can pay somebody else to do the work cheaply, or you can do it right yourself. Those are the options. But I've found that most of the people who complain that "they" pump our food full of chemicals are too lazy even to grow a pot of herbs or make their own yogurt. (And they usually haven't bothered to research to find out what chemicals farmers do and do not use in reality. When people go on about growth hormones in the milk, I know they haven't bothered to read and think, because farmers don't use hormones to increase milk production. They get paid next to nothing for milk, and the hormone is ridiculously expensive. It would be like paying $200 a day for transportation to a minimum-wage job.)

As for "them" putting things in "our" food to make us fat, the plain fact is that we're fat because we eat too much and move and sleep too little. The "obesity epidemic" tracks perfectly with the increase in calorie consumption and decrease in hours of sleep. The average American eats 300 calories a day more than they did in the late 70s, and sleeps 2 hours less. (I don't know stats on exercise.) The increase in calories is not all from sugar, by the way. We eat more of *everything.* The biggest portion of the extra calories comes from fat, especially cheese and salad dressing, but we even eat more vegetables!

I blame MTV.
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Seriously, the "obesity epidemic" started around the same time as 24-hour entertainment, and I think that has something to do with it. You (and more to the point, your kids) can sit up late watching TV instead of going to bed. Then they're sleepy, so they drink a Big Gulp of Mountain Dew on the way to work/school the next day to wake them up, and you get a vicious cycle going. Add in the fact that thanks to 24-hour news we hear about *every* child injury in the country and decide it's to dangerous for the kid to walk to school or play in the yard, so we park them in front of the TV or video games, and the cycle continues.

The solution to improving food quality AND reducing consumption is one and the same. PAY MORE FOR YOUR FOOD. Food is WAY too cheap in this country-- if you look at the percentage of income spent on food, our is a tiny fraction of most countries' and a tiny fraction of what it was in the US 40 years ago. If people were willing to pay more and buy less, farmers would be happy to grow all organic. But I don't see people lining up for $12 a gallon milk.

But mainly, don't be lazy. Buy ingredients, not food, and you can afford anything. It takes half an hour of work to make a week's worth of bread for a family, and if you buy the most expensive organic ingredients, it might cost 75 cents a loaf. Yogurt takes 11 minutes of work, and costs whatever the same amount of milk costs.

If "they" aren't doing it right, quit whining and do it yourself.

FANCYQTR Posts: 5,427
5/13/13 10:22 A

There are very few things at the Whole Foods by me that are in line with the things at the other stores here. I have gotten things there once in a while that are, but it will cost me 2-3 times as much if I shop there than the other stores. I have gone there for ham for sandwiches before because I don't want the nitrates/nitrites/antifreeze and they used to be the only place to get that, but it is over $12/pound. Kings now has a natural one that is $6/lb, sometimes less. There are two other stores I can get organic produce for quite a bit lower prices.

Also, around here the farmer's markets are approximately twice as much for their produce and there are only 2 that take EBT and they are clear at the other side of town and one that is more like 3-4 times the cost of other stores for a lot of things. I'm glad that they accept EBT in Florida now because there are a lot of people trying to get healthier that cannot get the healthy things because they are on low, fixed income. Don't know what it is like where you are, but here they just keep saying to stop eating. They accuse everyone who is on food stamps of being lazy bums who spend all their food stamps on soda, candy and drugs.

SILVERMOONFAIRY Posts: 259
5/13/13 10:01 A

For the person that commented about Whole Foods being the most expensive place, there was a comparison done not all that long ago with Whole Foods vs. other stores, and it wasn't quite the crazily higher costs you'd imagine.

Where Whole Foods is much higher is in the stuff you 'should't' be buying in either store: processed frozen type junk, and overly processed cereals and food products. For that, yes, Whole Foods is more expensive, because it's trying to make something already inherently unhealthy be a tiny bit more healthy via organic or all-natural ingredients, etc.

But as far as fruits, vegetables, eggs, milk, bulk items (spices, beans, rice, quinoa, nuts, etc) it's actually quite comparable, and when you shop the sales, even better.
Plus, at Whole Foods you can buy a lot of things just in the quantities you need, like the spices, beans, TVP, etc.

I don't eat a lot of meat because I cook for myself and just usually don't bother with too much meat, but when I do, I'll check out the fish and meat sales at Whole Foods. There's almost always a good deal.

But, if you're going into Whole Foods looking to pick up frozen pizzas and get deli meat every day and want boxed mac and cheese, etc. etc.. yeah, probably more expensive. But sort of missing the point of trying to eat better anyway.

TWININGS12 SparkPoints: (17,330)
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5/13/13 6:10 A

That is why I eat a plant based diet and I buy all my veggies and fruit locally. I would rather have a bowl of lentils or rice than to eat meat from animals. Food is our medicine and there is a lot of home work to be completed to learn what is good and what is bad. We are what we eat.

STARSHINE182 Posts: 16
5/13/13 4:26 A

Have you looked into the local farmer's markets? There's two in St Pete & I remember reading last year that they began accepting EBT as a form of payment. Maybe you can look into that?

Also, what about making a trip to Trader Joe's in Sarasota? I go once a month or so & stock up on items we eat frequently.

ICAMP2 SparkPoints: (5,962)
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5/12/13 10:39 P

I am brand new to this page/forum but I did want to chime in. GMO food is in just about any processed food (healthy or not) as it is in almost any corn product. I follow a whole foods diet and have gained an enormous amount of weight after moving from Oregon (where whole foods is simple to find) to rural Arkansas (where nobody has even heard of real food)

I would say avoid processed foods, stick with whole foods. I don't think its more expensive actually. I am a single mother with 3 large kids at home and run a grocery bill around 150 a week. It just is how you shop. Yes, my chicken is 3.50 a pound but one chicken makes four meals so it works out quite well. I grow as much produce, I freeze, dehydrate and preserve in season produce but the huge thing is to shop from Azure. They are a whole foods/organic foods company out of Oregon. They deliver all over the country, I am able to get them in the middle of nowhere Arkansas! While they are organic and whole foods, they are very affordable. This month I ordered a case of 48 pounds of organic oranges for 25.00, last month I had a case of apples for 20.00.

Planning ahead and cooking on weekends can allow for a healthy whole foods diet on a budget!

BERRY4 SparkPoints: (139,505)
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5/12/13 7:52 P

One ingredient foods are always a good idea...and of course, growing your own if possible!
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LDHAWKE SparkPoints: (19,069)
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5/12/13 3:15 P

All I can say is that if you hate this country, you always have the option to leave it. But remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

ELLIEJEANBEAN SparkPoints: (2,207)
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5/12/13 12:37 P

Plus, I hate to burst your bubble, but Europe is not the paradise you think it is. Not only are there huge amounts of overweight people here, but processed junk food is cheaper than healthy whole food, just as it is in the US (I can tell you this for a fact, because I live in Europe, although I'm American. It's similar both places). No matter where you live, you have to take responsibility for your diet. My husband is a keen meat-eater, but I have come up with lots of meat-free recipes he likes, because we're both grad students on a very small food budget and there's no way we can afford to eat meat once a day, it's a rare treat to have chicken! But we don't feel even slightly deprived, it's just changing your mindset. Your husband may have to change his attitude to food though, needs must and all that.

CARLY241 Posts: 189
1/5/13 3:37 A

You can still make pretty good choices without buying organic. And you can certainly lose weight without eating organic. Even by reducing the amount of processed foods you eat, you cut out a great deal of chemicals.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (6,695)
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1/5/13 12:42 A

I encourage you to look into community gardening in the St. Pete area.

FANCYQTR Posts: 5,427
1/5/13 12:06 A

I keep trying to get a garden started. I don't have much sunny area for it because there are so many trees in the yard, though. So far I have planted tomatoes each year and only get about 2 tomatoes from 2 plants and they are small. Last year I did have one plant that was pretty good, but small tomatoes. Nothing else has grown even long enouth to get planted. I do have one area in the yard that I am going to try to get a garden put in. I need to get some seeds and transplants ordered this month. There is a group in the city that gives them away (mainly last years seeds). They allow chickens in the city now, but we have wildlife in the area that would kill them, so I don't want to take a chance with them. I won't let my cat out, either. The foxes usually den under my patio when it comes time for babies.

This year was my year for apples, but they were all eaten on. I won't have any more until 2015.

WICKEDLEES SparkPoints: (2,078)
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1/4/13 9:42 P

Because I'm insane... NOT! I am really happy to find other people who are worried about our GMO's, Chemicals, etc...
5 yrs ago I tore out my entire yard and made it a garden, I grow everything. Not good enough, I raise chickens for the eggs, and I have a bee hive. I'm bartering with a guy to slaughter my Turkey this year we are raising 6-10 of them. I'm bartering some canned goods and eggs for some pork. I will only buy local. Did I mention? I live RIGHT SMACK DAB in the middle of the city. IT CAN BE DONE! There are a lot of local food co-ops that deliver fresh organic for the same price. I find that shopping at specialty meat shops, like Middle eastern (Halal meats) also helps with the cost.

ACKWARDATTIMES Posts: 140
1/4/13 3:50 P

LOl sorry that was not my intent.to make you feel picked on *sorry sorry*.....and for another poster I do not shop at whole foods either...but I do eat whole food which I think I posted...but I could have mistyped! ;) we also have no large whole food chains where we live

JENG829 SparkPoints: (15,063)
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1/4/13 12:17 P

haha, I read this rant and sometimes feel the same way! there are so many artificial colorings, artifical flavors, GMOs etc added to things these days... but people continue to buy them. Even pickles usually have artifical coloring added - I mean, they are just pickles... we don't need them to be fluorescent green!

The best thing someone can do to avoid this garbage is to buy whole unprocessed foods, organic if possible, and cook for yourself. For budgetary constraints, you can stretch grass-fed meats farther or buy cheaper cuts of meat and stew them if they are tough. Buy whole chickens. Use eggs (cheap!) and plenty of veggies. It can be done!

When you do eat processed foods, try eating organic or at least look for brands without junk added. We've been doing this for several years now... my boyfriend eats chips every day, but they are organic/natural brands. When he had Doritos after a long time, he said he felt hyper and like he couldn't stop himself from eating more and more. I get the same way when I eat some foods that have a lot of artificial ingredients... it's like I'm stuffing my face, but not getting full.

Ok, now I ranted too :)

FANCYQTR Posts: 5,427
1/4/13 12:15 P

Whole Foods is the highest priced place to buy anything.

If you want to get something like ham without all the carcinogenics, it costs twice as much as with the carcinogenics. How does adding less cost more for them to make? I often wonder that about the organic food. Maybe you don't get as high of a yield, but you are adding less junk to it and that addition to reguloarly grown food would add cost, wouldn't it? So the argument that it costs more to grow something organically doesn't make sense, but that is what everyone is always claiming.

It definitely costs more to eat healthy because the junk with all those chemicals in it costs less. I try to eat as healthily as I can, but the difference between something like free-range eggs (which may not be from chickens fed naturally) is around $3.50/dozen to $1.50 for traditionally raised chicken eggs. Vegetables that are organic and without a lot of pesticides on them are at least twice as much around here (blueberries this week are $1.25/6 oz regular and $3.99/6 oz organic). Sure, some people can live on beans and rice, but beans and rice are high in carbs which is bad for those with diabetes to eat all the time and some people cannot eat them for other health reasons (I end up in the bathroom often enough without eating beans). Eating in season foods doesn't help much in a lot of cases, either. We get higher prices here when the fruits and vegetables are in season than when they are imported from South America many times. Even when vegetables are ripe in this area they containue to import instead of getting local produce and the Farmers Markets charge twice what the large grocery stores charge. You won't find local produce at the Whole Foods, either.

BTW, everyone keeps saying that overweight is caused by people overeating. I saw a program yesterday on myths and realities and they said it is a myth that overweight children eat more calories than those at proper weight. They started out eating more calories, but after a certain age they are eating fewer calories. Probably due to the fact that the overweight children, even though eating fewer calories, don't have the energy to run around as much, but they are still eating less. So it isn't always just overeating. When you don't have much for buying the healthy food (low fat costs twice as much as higher fat), you end up buying what you can afford.

Edited by: FANCYQTR at: 1/4/2013 (12:20)
RIET69 SparkPoints: (47,087)
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1/4/13 10:55 A

Sorry if I made you feel "picked on" That was not my intent. I just wanted to share with you my experience of being with people who want to know what is in their food.

PINK_NEVAEH22 Posts: 2,276
1/4/13 10:38 A

I do the best I can with what I have. I purchase organic when I can, as far as eggs, dairy and beef go I live in St. Pete Florida, no farms around here. I was not trying to complain about my life, I was just bringing up the point that it is messed up that our food is tampered with and includes things that are very harmful to our body. Kind of feel like everyone is picking at me so I will just stop commenting on this one.....lol

RIET69 SparkPoints: (47,087)
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1/4/13 10:37 A

I have a brother and sister in law who are VERY particular about what they eat. They have adopted a vegan lifestyle where everything they eat is organic whenever possible. This means ordering organic flour for baking, etc. What is great about them is that I could make a Thanksgiving dinner in which they participated happily. My sister in law brought some "chicken medallions" for their protein that she heated up in microwave. Parts of my meal they also ate:
Oven roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower
Butternut squash (I added olive oil instead of butter)
Cranberries with oranges
Stuffing that was not cooked in the turkey.

We had a great time. I always learn from them.

ACKWARDATTIMES Posts: 140
1/4/13 1:23 A

I am sure most everyone hit on this..but to avoid GMO foods the easiest is to avoid non organic processed foods. Then avoid non organic yellow corn and soy and a few others, Keep in mind that even processed organic foods may contain items that have been modified from natural organic ingredients if you really want to stay somewhat scientist free...(dont have a better term lol). Nongmoprogect.com or on FB is enlightening if you are concerned about GMOs in our food.

As for organic as a personal choice ( after I had a child) I purchase the dirty dozen as organic or anything that cant be peeled (mostly) and also enjoy local produce in season as much as possible and we eat whole foods...well for the most part.. :)

We focus more on local than buying mostly organic and esp. as local as possible meat dairy and eggs...if not humane organic (just because it says organic does not mean it is humane practices) or better yet friend raised or caught or grown. Look at the labels of the dairy and meat and see how far it has actually come...then shop around for the stuff thats closer produced...generally it is fresher cheaper and you can look into their practices easier and most likely..it is from a smaller more humane farm..(in my area anyway) make friends with growers/ raisers.... research what bugs you and then teach yourself to grow, cook, bake and can and research your area....you know with in 50, 100, 200 miles.tops....

if it bugs you soo much, you WILL find a way to eat the way you want regardless of funds, your area, husbands etc.

We do it (always as our personal choice not as right or wrong) and live on a very very tight budget with a child and a husband who could care less at first but definitely doesn't complain when I shop and cook! ;) As I am learning new skills to keep how we want to eat cheaper and easier to do!

PS: We also eat far less meat and dairy and eggs than we did before because of the changes in the way we shop.


Edited by: ACKWARDATTIMES at: 1/4/2013 (01:27)
LISSABROOKE92 Posts: 91
1/3/13 10:56 P

I think it's fairly simple. If you don't like something about the food you're eating then don't eat it. You cook and prepare the food which means you are in control of it. I totally understand being on assistance as my family and I have been on it before. I understand that it gets difficult but that doesn't mean you don't have choices. Also, the rest of the world isn't as skinny as you may think. 1 in 10 people in the world is obese. That means 1 in 10 have a BMI of 30 or more. The US alone cannot be responsible for that number of people. It's not physically possible. Europe has their fair share of overweight people as well from their own food industries mixed with bad choices.

KRISTEN_SAYS SparkPoints: (73,366)
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1/3/13 10:52 P

That is one reason why I don't eat meat besides the occasional fish once a month. I've watched Food, Inc. a few times, and the footage from the factory farms disgusts me to no end. If I were to stop eating a vegetarian diet (I don't see that happening anytime soon), I could not buy it from the grocery store or from one of the big brands, like Tyson or Perdue. Luckily, I'm surrounded by rural communities so there are a ton of farms that sell certified organic and grass fed meats.

Try eating some meat free meals - a bag of beans does go a long way. You say your hubby doesn't like to eat healthy, but maybe you can introduce him to a healthy meal he likes.

CSROBERTSON621 SparkPoints: (76,835)
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1/3/13 10:39 P

Not sure where you live, but where I am (Washington, DC) the local farmer's markets have programs that not only allow people to use their food stamps/SNAP cards, but also offer matching funds to folks on assistance to help them make their $$ go further. That helps a lot, since the farmer's market prices are often higher than the store prices -- especially on meat, dairy and eggs. Since I donate to a couple of nonprofits that distribute these matching funds, I see from their yearly reports that a lot of families in our area are taking advantage of the opportunity.

Not sure if there's a local farmer's market near you -- or if they are large enough to have a nonprofit organization offering matching funds to those on public assistance. But such efforts are becoming more popular as it becomes clear that there is a high demand. I hope you have one nearby that can help you out.

VIRGOGURL4 SparkPoints: (43,667)
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1/3/13 10:11 P

I try not to think of how much chemicals are really in my food. Instead, I focus on what I can control. I can cook my own food from scratch, and buy foods with only one ingredient such as dried beans. I can eat produce that's in season so it costs less.

I have mixed feelings about the organic food industry, but I remember reading an article online about produce that don't really need to be eaten organic. Maybe just consume those so you're not splurging on organic?

WHATKATHYSAYS Posts: 52
1/3/13 8:42 P

I agree- the food culture in this country is terrifying to me. I stopped eating meat and most dairy products about 8 months ago because of the industry. It's awful.

Maybe you could plant a garden to help save money?

PINK_NEVAEH22 Posts: 2,276
1/3/13 3:37 P

I wouldn't have a problem with meat free meals but hubby wouldn't be for it and then I would have to cook two meals which wouldn't help in the money department. He isn't into the whole healthy lifestyle he would just say " Your looking into everything way too much, it is what it is we can't change it." And unfortunately right now I am shopping on food assistance which I don't think farmers markets and butchers accept as a form of payment or I would be there for sure. Right now our budget is just too tight so I have to do the best I can with what I have. Just wish it wasn't so difficult to get healthy food, it shouldn't be this way. It should be harder to get bad foods rather than good ones. Then just maybe people wouldn't need as much health care, there are just so many variables in all of it that makes it so wrong. It just doesn't make sense to me.

10YEARSDOWN SparkPoints: (1,455)
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1/3/13 3:15 P

My colleague and best friend is one of those "top paid food scientists" you are complaining about.

She didn't get her degree to get people addicted to food.

She studied long and hard to learn how to help people with celaic disease and glutin intolerance. Now, she has moved on from that and inspects facilities to make sure we're not being infected with e. coli every time we have a salad. Maybe you hate all the antibiotics and food additives we have in our country, but I hate cholera more.

CORTNEY-LEE SparkPoints: (52,407)
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1/3/13 2:55 P

I buy the majority of my meat from a local butcher who buys from local farmers. It is actually the same price, if not less expensive than regular grocery stores. I would check in your area to see what is available. Also, a lot of the time, the more you buy the cheaper it is.

Since you are on a tight budget, I would suggest maybe looking at meat free meals with alternative protein sources. There are some great ones out there!

MEGAPEEJ Posts: 732
1/3/13 2:06 P

I feel like at least some of your blame is misplaced. It's not "our country"'s fault that there is a high demand for certain foods, and a lack of education on where food comes from and how it's treated before it's food. We all have choices, and now that you know how certain farms treat their animals, you don't have to buy from those farms! There are options! Whole Foods has a program where they inspect all farms and if they don't meet a minimum standard of care for animals, they won't sell their meat. And please don't the "Whole Paycheck" argument - last week I bought a whole chicken for $2 per pound and got 4 meals out of it. No care-practices for meat where you live? Cut down your meat consumption and switch for some vegetarian options. You don't even have to cut ALL meat, just one or two meals a week and you're supporting those farms less, and paying less overall.

It's great to share with people that their food isn't what it seems - a lot of people don't know. But a lot of people DO know and spend money on it anyway, further supporting it. Every consumer votes with their dollars.

PINK_NEVAEH22 Posts: 2,276
1/3/13 12:36 P

I agree that people eat way too much but I also think it is because of what is being put into our food. Please go to you tube and type in easiest diet ever phycetruth. Watch her many great video's and if you are not aware of how food scientist make our food addicting so that we eat more, you will realize after you watch her video's. And yes in Europe they have some overweight people but they have the pricing on groceries the opposite of America. If you want a frozen pizza in Europe you have to pay more then fresh organic ingredients....where as here you can get frozen pizza's for less then a dollar, specially when you use coupons. The reason being, is because the frozen crap has to be imported so to eat unhealthy you have to pay top dollar rather than pay top dollar to eat healthy. So yes there can be overweight people in Europe but definitely no where near as many as you see here. It's easy to blame people for over eating rather then see that the food that we are being sold is formulated to make us want to eat more so that we buy more which in turn makes the manufactures get richer and we get sicker.

And yes I still do not like this Country my food assistance doesn't make me feel like it is any less greedy and corrupt. I am not proud of it, but we are a young couple with two kids trying to go through school and make something of ourselves. We just bought a home to make room for our baby girl and that is the only reason why we needed the help at the moment. I was paid every week at my job but did I like my boss??? Not always which I am sure most people have experienced at some point in their lives......so it is rather silly in my eyes to say I shouldn't not like our Country because I have food assistance right now and not to "bite the hand that feeds me." I don't want to argue with anyone, I just want to help people become aware of what is getting put in our foods. The more people who purchase organic the higher the demand and hopefully one day it won't be so pricey so that us mothers out there can feel good about what we are feeding to our children.

Edited by: PINK_NEVAEH22 at: 1/3/2013 (12:49)
YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,605)
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1/3/13 11:53 A

No offense, but I'm not sure you should say you "hate this country" when you're receiving assistance from said country to buy food :) There's absolutely nothing wrong with receiving assistance, that's what its there for, but don't bite the hand that feeds you.

But, I do agree that the food production practices here are shameful, but that's capitalism for you. It's not going to change. It costs way more money and resources to farm humanely, so unless all of us are willing to pay double and triple prices for our meats, produce, and dairy, we're sort of stuck with it.

Have you looked into buying bulk meat from a local farmer? You do need a place to store it (like a big freezer) but the meat is much higher quality than you find in the supermarket and is usually super cheap once you work it out per pound. It's a big up front cost but you can eat for months on what you get. I also frequently find organic and/or antibiotic free meat in the discount bin at my store. The other day I got all natural organic pork chops for $2.50-$3 a package (2 chops per package) from there (regular price is $6-7), I bought 3 packages and froze them as soon as I got home. For fruits and veggies, you can grow your own. I've seen some wonderful container garden ideas for people who don't have yards. So, the good stuff is available, you just have to do the leg work to find it.

And, as others mentioned, we can't blame anybody but ourselves for being fat. The bigger problem is that Americans eat too much of everything, not just junk food. Plus, there are plenty of overweight people in Europe too.

CHEETARA79 SparkPoints: (75,078)
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1/3/13 11:32 A

That kind of food costs more because it is more expensive to farm. Conventionally grown meat and produce is cheaper to farm and tends to produce a larger yield.

In my opinion, people are obese because they choose to eat more than they need to eat to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a choice. You can get just as fat eating organic as you can eating regular stuff.

DVDIAMOND SparkPoints: (625)
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Posts: 78
1/3/13 11:19 A

I agree with your rant and don't beat yourself up over needing assistance. Everyone needs a leg up very now and again.
To get a good bang for your buck and be healthy at the same time you may want to purchase a dry beans and brown rice. Together they create a complete protein and you can add veggies and tofu and have very cost effective super healthy meals. Splurge on cage free eggs and boil them all up for a great source of protein. Grass fed beef is really pricey and not going to be a wise choice.
A whole free range chicken will take you a lot farther because you can get a lot of meals and make soup!
Look for seasonal veggies, they will be cheaper and easier to find organically grown ones. Fruits that need to be peeled do not need to be organic.

Edited by: DVDIAMOND at: 1/3/2013 (11:20)
PINK_NEVAEH22 Posts: 2,276
1/3/13 10:58 A

Yeah my problem right now is money. I have a very tight budget and actually receiving food assistance right now. My boyfriend is working and going to school and I am at home with our 2 month old and 5yr old until I can go back to school ( when I am done breastfeeding). So unfortunately the best I can do right now is buy "healthier" options in the local grocery store. I hate it, it makes me feel like a failure as a mother. :(

AMIECHMURA SparkPoints: (473)
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1/3/13 9:58 A

I agree that is why I started "eating clean only!
in some cases it is hard to find breads and tortillas so i settle for not so clean ingredients. Our bodies deserve better then chemical ridden foods:)

PINK_NEVAEH22 Posts: 2,276
1/3/13 9:52 A

Knowing how much crap is in the food we eat makes me so sick. Just looking at the labels and seeing more chemicals and GMO's is just disgusting. Having to eat meat that comes from a huge factory where cows stand in their own feces so crouched together, being pumped full of steroids to get them to grow faster and larger. Knowing they are fed a grain diet instead of grass because it's cheaper, then when they get sick because they are not eating what they are suppose to they pump them full of antibiotics and then they are slaughtered and sold to us in our local grocery store. Why do we have to pay more for natural organic foods when that is how food is suppose to be! Why do we have to find a health food store and drive to BFE to get the food we are suppose to consume? It is sickening......and we wonder why everyone is sick and obese while the food industries have top paid food scientist working harder each day to find out how they can make us become more addicted to their genetically modified foods so they can make their wallets fatter along with our waistlines. I hate this Country....it is disgraceful, disgusting and filled with greed while we run around pretending we have freedom eating crap food and being told it's good for us. In Europe a majority of the foods us americans consume is banned there. Take a look at their bodies, skin, hair and nails and tell me why you think that is? The worst part is, even though I know this and some of you out there may be educated on this as well, we still end up consuming the food. Why? Because I don't have the gas money to ride to Tampa to go grocery shopping or the extra 50 to 100$ it would cost to buy organically grown fruits & veggies and grass fed meats. Ugh.......I guess ignorance is bliss in the Unites States.

Sorry for ranting but I know there are others that feel the same, it is just ridiculous that this Country is so greedy that they make us all sick to make profit. Then they blame it on us not being able to control ourselves, yeah maybe it has something to do with what your putting in our food and telling us it's healthy......

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