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BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/27/13 1:54 P

"That was $77 a week I could have been putting towards fresh food. That was a wake-up call to never use the "it's too expensive to cook" excuse again."

OH, how i hear you!!!

I always find it perplexing when I see someone state "it is too expensive to eat healthy" in the same paragraph as "so I stopped at Taco Bell..."

It's quite amazing how our brains can work-the-numbers to make "what we want to do" work out as the "most economical" way of doing things. I used to want to eat A&W Chubby Chicken, and I TOTALLY rationalized how my $8.50 daily lunch completely made sense in terms of food-budget economy ("well, it doubles as breakfast and lunch [kind of] and I won't need as much food at dinner [ha ha delusion]... "). Now I want to eat healthy, and, like you, I've "done the numbers again" and realized that for $8.50 I can eat like royalty on fresh-local-minimally-processed foods (as long as I want to contribute the sweat-equity of performing the food prep/cooking). However, it wasn't long ago I'd compare that $8.50 lunch to $8.50-worth of out-of-season-blackberries and convincingly announced "It's too expensive to buy fresh; $8.50 worth of blackberries would leave me starving!" - but that of course is an apples-and-oranges comparison. Had I been willing to say "for $8.50 I could have a cup of rice, about 2 pounds of stir fried bok choy and a 4 ounce chicken breast, and still had 3 bucks left over.." I might have gotten on the healthy-eating bandwagon a whole lot sooner....

AMANDANCES Posts: 2,052
6/27/13 11:15 A

That's a great response -- and I love that Freedman actually engages in the conversation in the comments. Thanks for posting it!

I'm lucky that I have a life that allows me to cook and eat healthy, and with mostly unprocessed foods. I don't demonize McDonald's and I think that moderation is the key. It is expensive to buy fresh produce, but I don't want my son growing up thinking food comes out of a bag or take-out container. It costs more to buy fresh veggies, but I save up from not buying soft drinks and coffees and chips. I did the math once -- on a typical week, I actually ended up spending $11 a day on drinks, junk food, donuts, and stuff from convenience stores. That was $77 a week I could have been putting towards fresh food. That was a wake-up call to never use the "it's too expensive to cook" excuse again.

LOTSACATS SparkPoints: (43,326)
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6/27/13 11:07 A

He was able to articulate my issues with the first article in a much more succinct manner than I was able. That is why he is a journalist and I am an accountant. :)

Thank you for sharing!

PINK4YOUTOO Posts: 508
6/27/13 11:02 A

yes have sometimes

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/27/13 10:57 A

Ooo look what cropped up in my email this morning. Grist's take on the "Defense of Junk Food" article.

This lays out the sides of the debate more clearly.... as well as the flaws of logic in the "pro fast food" argument, and it's quite read-ably entertaining.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/26/13 11:00 P

Well, actually, that article is critiquing another article that criticized the "Pollanites" - the author of the article linked in the OP doesn't agree with this.

I continue to believe that limiting one's reliance on processed foods is the biggest favour a person can do for their body, their health and their wallet. But we've been outsourcing our food-prep to corporate/industrial factory kitchens for a couple of generations or so, now... it will take time for the pendulum to shift. Honestly, if we all suddenly went to a Real Food diet and shunned all processed food? There wouldn't be enough food to go around. We do not have the infrastructure to support it - we don't have the local-market-gardens and organic dairies, not enough to feed *everyone* from, anyways - our food is all grown on centralized uni-crop industrial farms, packed, preserved or frozen and shipped, warehoused, distributed via grocery stores - if we all stopped shopping this way and went only to the farmers' market? Yeah. Our agricultural industry could not handle that.

So! Onwards I plod, towards a diet of unprocessed home-cooked locally-sourced "real ingredients" to the best of my ability... funny how the idea of eating simple unprocessed food has become so foreign to us that it seems almost radical and subversive to suggest rejecting the mainstream Big Food processed delights that we've all grown up with.

And before I start sounding too high and mighty - yeah my diet is not totally "clean" - my meat comes from Costco, and I'm sure they aren't sourcing from a pastoral Pollanite farm... I eat boxed dried pasta and "cheat" with bottled sauce, etc., etc. I try to do better about preparing food for myself from scratch, but I haven't completely relinquished "convenience" as a sometimes-motivator.

Edited by: BUNNYKICKS at: 6/26/2013 (23:00)
LOTSACATS SparkPoints: (43,326)
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Posts: 905
6/26/13 2:01 P

I tried to read the first article and only made it about halfway through before I had to stop out of frustration. Having recently read one of Michael Pollan's books, In Defense of Food, it was clear to me that the author of that article hadn't actually read the book before opining about how off base it was and how "Pollanites" are elitist and wrong.

Michael Pollan's main message in that book is: eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Saying that "Pollanites" are off base because the author went to a health food restaurant and ordered something fried that was as full of fat and calories as something from McDonald's is like comparing apples to snow tires. The message Michael Pollan is trying to convey is not to just eat stuff that is being marketed as health food. His message is to eat real food - food that hasn't had all of the nutrients processed out of it and then added back in selectively like that creepy White Fiber Wonderbread. Fried food from a fast food joint or a health food restaurant is still fried food - full of fat, full of calories. To expect otherwise is ridiculous.

The more I read things like Michael Pollan's book and watch documentaries like Hungry for Change or Forks Over Knives, the more I believe that weight loss isn't always as simple as calories in vs. calories out and that the nutrients we take in through our food have an impact on not only our health but our appetites and cravings and subsequently our weight. I don't think that taking fast food and making it even more processed to take out a few extra calories is the answer to making fast food healthier, nor the people eating it.

I think the answer is more along the lines of going back to the days where fast food was an occasional treat, not a weekly or daily meal source. That's just my $0.02.

6/26/13 10:57 A

Thanks for listing the article emoticon

AMANDANCES Posts: 2,052
6/26/13 10:54 A

I thought this was an interesting article. He links to the original article, which I recommend reading first. Does anyone have any thoughts on either article?

I'm always curious when researchers talk about the change in American diet over the last 50 years, they never mention any change in our exercising. It seems to me like the obesity epidemic is a result of both factors -- diet and exercise. Yet it always comes back to diet alone.

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