month of experiments

Sunday, August 05, 2012

This month I did a new way of grocery shopping, mainly since I had some extra money, I did the research and bought healthier foods. What a shocker at checkout! Eating healthy costs way too much! This month I will be eating very healthy nutritionally sound foods at 4.2 times my budget. I also noticed that many of these healthy foods had more calories than the cheaper less healthy foods. The difference being in what the calories were made up of, like more proteins and fiber. Which led me to wonder, if fiber is mainly just pushed through the gut, since we can not digest it, do we really get all those calories? I also spent a whole lot more in the produce isle. Since I did my research before and during shopping (I shop online) I paid more attention to where my food dollars were going and the benefits they would provide me health wise. The whole experience was mind blowing for me.
The cost factor. No matter what this month does for me health and weight wise, I can never do it again, budget just will not allow it. It made me really think about the relationship our bodies have to what we eat and the activities we do. It also got me back on to the reality that one of the reasons more people are suffering from obesity and diabetes or pre diabetes, is the economic factors more so than the sedentary lifestyle. While I was shopping, my daughter was also virtual shopping for her family of four, 2 of which are teenagers, so we could compare cost and nutrition. She was to shop as healthy as she could within her budget and knowing what they will eat. Some of her exclamations during this were hilarious, none of which I dare to repeat. We will just leave it at the whole experience blew her mind too. Here are the results we came up with:
You can buy a cereal where most of the nutritional value comes from the milk you add for 4 times less than you can a healthy one. Healthy whole grain breads cost 3.6 times more. Romaine lettuce is 2.8 times the price of Iceberg. Ten pounds of russet potatoes are $1, sweet potatoes are $1/pound. Nonfat milk is 93 cents more/gallon than whole milk. Butter is 2.8 times the price, of the cheapest margarine. Nonfat cream cheese is 1.8 times the price of the regular kind. Ground beef the fattest kind is $1.39/pound, the extra lean is $4.29/pound. For a beef roast. the cheapest cut $3.29/pound and the leanest is $7.29/pound. Whole chicken $2.49/pound, pieces $3.39/pound, skinless/boneless breast halves $4.29/pound. Whole fat cheeses average $6.39/pound 2% fat averaged $6.89/pound while processed cheese foods were $1.89/pound. Mac and cheese dinner 79 cents/box while a 1 pound package of plain pasta (not whole wheat) was 99 cents/pound and whole wheat pasta was $1.89/pound. Can of fruit cocktail in syrup 89 cents, same weight can in juice $1.59. Sweetened applesauce 79 cents, unsweetened $1.49. The best deals were on the fresh local in season produce, peaches/nectarines/plums 39 cents/pound. Ear of sweet corn 10 cents each.
The bottom line seems to be if you want to eat healthy you have to pay for it. For a country that claims it wants to reduce obesity and weight related conditions, the grocery prices are where we need to start, not in health care to treat these conditions as they arise.
I understand that prices vary around the country and I am also aware that with the draught our prices will soar up yet again. One thing I do not understand is why the more you process/refine a food and the more junk you add to it makes it cheaper.
Next month I will see what my scale and tape measure have to say about this change.
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