J Morris Hicks

J Morris Hicks

Posted March 7, 2011

Published in Food, Health

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The "Dollars and Sense" of eating...

Read More: cost of food, food subsidies, healthy eating, healthy food

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Some good news and bad news

money on plate_opt.jpgMany people have the idea that it costs much more to eat a healthy diet. Well, yes and no. Unfortunately, if you compare the cost of a calorie of fast food fare with the cost of a huge salad of greens, tomatoes, and broccoli; the healthier option does cost more -- per calorie. But if you are serious about trying to eat a healthy diet, then the news is much better.

In my case, I typically prepare all of my breakfast and lunch meals at home and then go out for dinner almost every night. For me, eating a whole plants kind of diet is a bargain. My weekly grocery bill averages $56 and I prepare 14 that works out to an average of $4 per meal. Then, for my evening meal in a local restaurant, they average about $10 compared to the typical "meat & dairy" entree which runs about $20.

So, here's the way I look at it; by eating this way, I save $70 a week eating out and spend a total of $56 on I am up $14 every week. Spending a total of $126 a week, my monthly eating bill is a little over $500. I doubt that most of my meat-eating friends are dining that efficiently.

Sadly, there is another part of this "dollars and sense" story that is not very pretty. It's the lack of opportunity for the low wage folks living in the inner city. Oftentimes, they don't even have access to fresh produce and so spend their money on the cheapest and most filling calories they can find. And that would be fast food or highly processed foods at their nearest grocer. What is the answer to this dilemma?

A huge part of the problem is the government subsidies that go to the meat and dairy industry...about 75% of the total. On the other hand, the government recommends in the food guidelines that we eat more fruits and vegetables while spending less than one percent of the subsidy money on those highly nutritious foods. Makes no "sense," right?But, with the massive food lobbies and special interests solidly entrenched, this situation is not likely to change anytime soon.Photo BW Suit.jpg

But a pretty good start would be the realization by the more affluent and educated, that we simply do not "need" any animal protein in our diet. On the contrary, it is linked to many of our chronic diseases. As this realization gradually takes place, there will be some big changes in the way we eat in this country...not unlike the cigarette smoking that went from ubiquitous to "uncool" in about a 40 year span.


From a commuter train heading west along the Connecticut shoreline...enjoying a hearty breakfast of fresh fruit and nuts – Be well and have a great day…

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at