This is a fantastic article. Corporations have a legal obligation to their shareholders, not their customers, so they are bound to do what is profitable for the company. That's why we have to make healthy profitable! If even 10% of the people who regularly order Big Macs and fries started ordering just a Big Mac or just fries, you can bet there would be a big change in the way McDonalds markets its products.
I also agree with the commenters who say that healthy is not really more expensive. I was once on my way back to my office from a meeting and I was starving. I stopped at 7-11. My options were: Baked Lays: 99 cents, a buffalo chicken rollup: 2 for $2.22 or a banana: 2 for $1. The healthiest, simplest option was also the cheapest. I think you will see this is true if you go to the market and really LOOK at your options. Also, asking for water at a restaurant instead of buying a soda is cheaper. Not getting popcorn at the movies is cheaper than getting popcorn. Not buying chips or ice cream at the market is cheaper. I think so many people are programmed to look to packaged, processed foods, or are programmed to think that you "need" to have snacks in the house that they don't really look at their costs with the right perspective. I think a lot of people also use the "expense" of healthy food as an excuse to eat as they please or to justify their weight.
Healthy food is actually cheaper when you think about it. It makes me so mad when people say that like this article about a bag of cheetos is cheaper than a bag of apples. How many cheetos do you eat, but how many apples do you eat? Think about it! Not cheaper! So a gallon of milk is more expensive than the equivalent in soda? Seriously? How much milk do you drink, but how much soda do you drink without even thinking about it? A candy bar is roughly a $1, but I can grab a banana for $0.25. What's cheaper now? Do the math. It's cheaper to eat healthy. How much is a frozen pizza, but how much is a loaf of bread and PB? There you have it.
In addition to bringing your own grocery bags you can also buy reusable produce bags. I have Tazzy Totes brand. I use them for my produce and I also use them when I buy food in the bulk section. They're great and cut down on a lot of plastic!
This article hits the nail on the head. I've seen the people in my community making many of these changes along with me, but it's a small portion of the town and the understanding of why these changes are needed is slow to come. Thanks for the great article.
1/9/2011 11:39:23 PM
I love this article! This lists many of the reasons I became a vegan. I hope others choose to vote with their meals!
I've been doing most of these things for some time, but I have one more suggestion. When I eat out and find healthy options on the menu, I make sure I let someone know. If nothing else, I'll tell the server. But recently I've eaten at a couple of chain restaurants that offer smaller portions and/or healthier options. I've e-mailed their corporate headquarters to let them know how much I appreciate their efforts to provide healthier foods. One PR person wrote me back that she really appreciated my note and was in a state of shock because she usually only gets complaints in her mailbox. I've been encouraging everyone on Spark to do the same- 9 million e-mails like mine would certainly get corporate America's attention!
Great article! This is exactly why I became a vegetarian. I decided that I could no longer support the factory farming system and decided to vote three times a day by eating completely meatless meals and limiting eggs and dairy. But I didn't realize how many other things I am voting on as well - I knew that I was choosing to carpool and bring reusable bags to the grocery store as a form of voting, but I never thought that by not smoking, not buying processed foods, and exercising regularly, I am also voting for a healthier lifestyle. I love looking at these acts in this new way! It definitely makes it easier to continue to make healthy choices when I think of each one as a "vote" for a better life and a healthier future.
That's a very good article. Often people feel so overwhelmed by all the problems in the worlds that we forget we don't have to fix everything all at once and we CAN make small changes that add up to making a huge difference.
Nicole this is a great article! We have some grocery stores that are so huge, selling so much junk! Such temptation, no wonder so many people have weight issues. You made some really good points that I will carry out!
I have already chosen to "vote" on these things several years ago. Yes, my family thinks it's weird that we don't use paper towels and will not cook meat (only eggs from my chicken). But I feel like my "vote" does count.
The biggest aha moment was that I didn't HAVE to bring home a styrafoam container from our special nights out... I could just bring my own. Yep, that will be weird too, but it will make our server think that maybe that extra trash is unecessary. Maybe I can encourage someone else to "vote" too.
That's right! As they said on "Parks and Rec" the other night:
America is about being able to eat whatever we want and gain too much weight and die of a heart attack at 45. That's our right and we want it.
As for healthy food being as cheap as processed food: just not so. I've heard this time and again, and I'm glad that it's been addressed by Michael Pollen. If you only have a small sum of money you cannot buy in bulk and freeze. It takes an initial outlay of money to buy enough on sale to put some back to save money later. If you don't start with that amount, you can't do it. If you live in an urban area, you cannnot grow your own garden in many cases. If you have a small amount of money---say $10.00---you are limited to what you can buy for that. My state charges almost 10% tax on all foods, so I often have to put food back. Yes, the bag of potatoes is cheaper than potato chips, but that is not really the issue when you're really, really limited in funds.You're not buying chips when you are really broke. People without money who are really broke buy cheap boxes of generic mac and cheese, eggs, a small cheap milk, the cheapest margerine, the cheapest bread (white), ramen noodles. A bag of potatoes, on sale, is a good thing to buy. Greens in season are okay. But the lettuces, spinach, certainly the red peppers, berries, fruits, asparagus, and often the broccoli are on the expensive side. They cost a lot more than mac and cheese, which is what poor people with kids live on if they don't have food stamps.
The farmers who grow corn are subsidized by the government and the farmers who grow pears are not. And certainly not organic fruit farmers.
I don't think we need to up the taxes on high-calore, highly-processed junk, but lower the prices on healthy foods. And the author is right---this happens by voting with your money. But it might also help if the government looked more closely at what foods they choose to subsidize. Maybe it's time to help smaller, organic farmers the way they help large, agri-business corn growers.
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