Fun Facts #3

Yahoo for Friday!

Did you have a fabulous week?  If you live in the Pacific Northwest, I am sure you have appreciated our weather.  I think we’re going to have to say “see ya later” to it for a bit.  That’s okay.  I definitely got some Vitamin D in me to last a while.  It will be time for the rain to come back and water the flowers just about the time we were getting the sprinklers ready.

We are well into our first week of the Healthy Vegan Challenge that’s going on over on Facebook.  If you haven’t checked us out, I invite you to join us.  We have a great group of men and women who want to make some healthy changes in their lives.  We are all on the same journey together, but at different places along that journey.  We offer great support and suggestions.  Recipes are exchanged too.

Eating Healthfully on a Budget:

You know, one of the things I hear time and time again from people is that eating healthily is expensive.  Is it?  I’m not so sure.  I’ve been saying for a long time that I didn’t think it was all that more expensive than eating processed and boxed foods.  I know you can buy multiple boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for less than a buck and potato chips are just a couple bucks a bag.  But what is the nutritional value of those foods?  If we’re talking about filling the belly without nutrition, then you might be right.  I recently came upon an online article by Dr. Greger who cites to an Economic Research article published by the USDA.  Keep in mind that many of the findings of the article are based on a diet recommended by the government at ChooseMyPlate.gov and not a whole-foods, plant-based diet like I consume.

The bottom line is that it all depends on how you’re calculating the cost — whether it be by weight, calorie or a calorie-to-weight cost comparison.  In other words, fruits and vegetables are low in calorie but tend to weigh more and look like an expensive way to get food energy.  On the other hand, less healthy foods that are high in fat and sugar — and also high in calories — have a lower price per calorie.  But when you measure the cost of foods based on edible weight (or average portion size) grains, fruits and vegetables are less expensive than protein foods and foods high in fat and sugar.  The end conclusion is that if you were to follow the ChooseMyPlate.gov guidelines, it would be cheaper in the grains, dairy and fruit sections of the plate but vegetables and protein would be more expensive.

myplate_magenta

Government Food Plate

dr. fuhrman plate

Dr. Fuhrman’s Food Plate

So my suggestion is this:  Skip the animal protein (including eggs and dairy) and put that money towards the purchase of tons and tons of vegetables.  How does that work for ya?  I mean, the last time I bought boneless, skinless chicken breasts for Alex, they were about $5 per pound.  A package that had four pieces in it went for about $8.50.  Do you know how many pounds of kale, romaine lettuce, spinach and dried beans I could buy?  Plus I’d be getting more protein (and other nutrients) and skipping the IGF-1 hormone surge created by the animal products.

Another idea:  Since most “grains” are processed, let’s skip the bagged pasta, English muffins and the bagels and instead go for brown rice, quinoa and whole oats.

Yes, some things that I buy are pricier than their counterparts.  For example, I usually pick up a carton or two of shelf-stable nut milk on each shopping trip.  At about $1.50 each for a quart, that is more expensive than a gallon of milk.  The tradeoff on that purchase is we don’t drink it like milk.  It is used in recipes, smoothies and to top off our oatmeal.  I could reduce this cost even more by making my own nut milks, but I do appreciate the convenience of the cartons.

My own conclusion is that I spend no more on my weekly grocery trips than I did over two years ago.  And I believe there is less waste because I buy what I need for each week, throwing away very little… unless, of course, a recipe was a bomb!

Here’s another visual for you.  The plate below shows different foods that are each 100 calories.  Look at how much broccoli or how many strawberries you can eat for just 100 calories compared to the M&Ms or potato chips.  And we all know we wouldn’t eat just 10 chips or a tablespoon or so of M&Ms. So which is a better value?  It doesn’t even take into account the money spent on doctor’s visits related to a poor diet.

plate_photo

Has my opinion given you something to think about?  I hope so.  I know when I go to the store this weekend I’ll be thinking about the value of my dollar when it comes to my purchases!  Now, I just wish they issued coupons for kale!

See you Monday!  Toodles.

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