Tomorrow I will post my rant about traditional farm practices for meat and produce vs. grass fed meat practices and small local organic farms like CSA’s which is better for us and the environment (the answer is not eating fake meat and not nearly the problem the far left says it is–I’m assuming if you read my blog you are at least open to solutions that include eating it).
But today I’ll do the first part of my rant. A friend of mine (who regularly insults me)– and without knowing anything about this subject , or very little– told me yesterday that I couldn’t face the fact that I had grown up “privileged” and still was and that eating good organic food was out of the reach of most people.
(Number one, I had a middle class upbringing. My father, uneducated, was a salesman of heavy equipment and we certainly didn’t starve, but neither were we “rich.” He struggled to pay a couple years of college for me at Michigan State University during some hard economic times in the mid-late 1970’s–I can remember him calling me down to his basement office ashe had a job on the road all the time and didn’t go into the company office often–and showing me how much the expenses were for a year and how much he made that year. It was $16K if memory serves and he said we had to “turn the damn lights off.” I later paid for the rest of my schooling to get my undergrad degree and my MFA at a small Michigan school. He didn’t buy me cars ever or clothes or anything else after I turned 18. I always worked, from the time I was 16. This was FAR from being born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Though I admit I did have a couple grade horses and showed them in 4-H classes. So again, I am not complaining).
I’ve also faced great hardship before and after 2008 when my husband lost his nice job as a construction manager and had to drive a truck overland to keep from losing everything we had. For four years! We had to sell our house and I lived off the grid in a garage–literally a garage– I made into an industrial camp/full time home in the U.P.–as I finished my degree (borrowed money to do it I haven’t paid off) and taught at the university for many years with an adjunct’s salary–I don’t even want to tell you how much (or little) that paid. We owned a small apartment complex with partners when the economy collapsed and three rental homes with partners we nearly lost and couldn’t sell because the market had disappeared. Which was what we counted on for our entire retirement. We worked to pay back $150K in credit cards (rather than walk away from it) that occurred within six months because we couldn’t sell the house fast enough and we had business expenses.
Again, I am not complaining. I live a good life. Living in the United States as part of the middle class (which is luckily pretty extensive in this country), is something I’m grateful for every day. I’m also aware that not everyone has had it as easy as I have but neither am I “privileged.” Nor has my life been a walk in the park in other areas but that’s another story.
Enough of that. Hope you have the picture here.
I maintain that eating healthy organic food is within almost everyone’s reach if they have a desire for it. Now remember, I don’t smoke cigarettes (never did) or drink even much wine anymore and of course no drugs, so I don’t have big expenses for vices. I drink a glass or two of wine (even now on vacation) about once/week or if I’m out. So this presumes that people who have a desire to live healthy are not spending money on those things, of course. And one must remember that even poor people in this country seem to have smart phones and a roof over their heads if they want it (the homeless situation is complicated and another subject). So even being poor isn’t as bad in America as elsewhere and even they should be grateful they are poor here and not somewhere else–I’m sure that’s why so many people want to come here.
Also, important to note is that since I have adopted better eating habits I don’t eat out as often as I did (when I’m not on vacation) because it’s very difficult to get decent food out. So most people will save on that score as well– as I did. Add up what even junk fast food does to your wallet! I soon realized on my way to school in Marquette, that that $1.06 cup of coffee from McDonalds was costing me $30+ dollars a month, which I didn’t have at the time, and had to start taking it from home!
But it’s not my intention to put myself in other people’s shoes, as my friend has done to me– with very little knowledge on how to eat clean because he doesn’t do it. I’ll just give you a few prices here and an example from my own life.
First, beverages: a case of 24 12 oz. cokes are .37/can and with a deposit it would be .47/can. Purified water is about .12/ bottle (though I recommend a zero water filter for much less yet and not putting plastic bottles in the landfill which is still happening too much even recycling. Tomorrow more about the “cost” on our environment). Organic coffee is between $8 and $9/pound. I am not certain how many cups that translates into but it’s a lot made at home compared to so many people buying their coffee at Starbucks at $2-4.99/cup! So I don’t drink soda, or sports drinks which aren’t good for you: if you eat clean, you drink filtered water and coffee or tea, sparkling water, and that’s IT, all of which are good for you and much cheaper obviously. Big savings there.
I see people on a typical American diet buying, for instance, Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches which cost $4.75 for two sandwiches (I’m looking at meals for two people). A dozen pastured organic eggs are now $3.99 at Whole Foods. You can get them anywhere between $3.99 and $5.99/dozen. But if each person had a three egg omelet, you’d spend no more than $2 for some excellent morning eggs. Good uncured bacon has come down in price to $4.99/lb at our Kroger. Excellent thick cut. About .40/slice or 1.60 for four slices of morning bacon. You are at $3.60 compared to $4.75 for an excellent healthy and nutritious breakfast. You have a few pennies to spare for a bit of cheese or produce for that 3-egg omelet or a nice frittata. And that good Kick ASS organic coffee I love!
So say for dinner, a person eats a regular hamburger at $4.44/lb. 1/2 lb. each person. True, at Whole Foods (or Butcher Box) grass fed burger is $6.99/lb. So it’s a bit more. However, let’s also assume our traditional folks eat (only one) medium bag, 8 oz. of potato chips at $3.15/bag at Walmart. They split it. A twenty ounce bottle of coke runs $1.50- $2.00 at the grocery store. At my house, say I cook two huge baked organic potatoes, 8 ounces each for about a dollar and I make a nice mushroom pan gravy sauce (canned organic BPA free one cup of mushrooms are $2.39) to put over that burger and those potatoes with a bit of grass fed butter and thyme added to it. Of course we will drink filtered water or coffee or tea. Without condiments or buns, my regular folks will spend on that meal without counting the price of buns or condiments $9.59 for that meal. My meal for two people will cost $9.38, but then I wouldn’t serve a bun because it’s processed. Our regular folks will have ice cream for dessert where we would have just a few organic blueberries with a dollop of sour cream for not much more if any. You’ll be stuffed on half pound beef, baked potato, mushroom gravy, and those luscious berries, trust me.
(I eat Keto or Carnivore, so we eat fat, but watch carbs).
So it’s a matter of choice and priorities. If you were on a budget, it would be hard to have steak a couple times/week but if you have access to Whole Foods (Amazon has lowered prices at Whole Foods and now now offering much of this online), you should be able to eat grass fed and organic with cheaper cuts of beef, pork and chicken. The key is to eat all whole foods and be a good shopper.
By the way, if you have a local coop like the one we had in Marquette, Michigan, they offer double the organic produce to anyone with an EBT card. Which my handicapped adult son Josh has. So if you are on a budget, often, you will find things like this. And here is a Butcher Box ad, a meat order company I use.
Butcher Box Ad:
Our goal is to make clean meat accessible to as many people as possible. By partnering with a collective of small farms, we’re able to deliver you the best products for less than $6 per meal. And shipping is free!
The bottom line is that since I don’t drink as much wine and have cleaned up my diet and use a food service, and I don’t eat out as much, I spend LESS on food than I did before for two people (it’s usually my handicapped son and myself since my husband still works downstate most of the time). And I have much less waste of produce or anything else either. I think part of the reason is I stay out of the stores more, no impulse buying–I just need eggs, grass fed butter, a few produce items (and I can’t always get organic in the U.P. if I’m off the grid and not close to Marquette, though they do carry lettuce and a few things). I order coffee online and Thrive offers as much as 20% off what things cost in the organic stores, delivered free if you order more than $49. You learn lots of tricks.
So if you want to eat well, you can. It’s a matter of priorities. You wouldn’t do it at all if you weren’t willing to make some sacrifices for your health, of course. So you’d cut out all the junk food and expensive and wasted calories on things like chips– (Grass fed beef has a 1:1 Omega 3-Omega 6 ratio, while traditional is 6:1 in favor of Omega 6. American diet is overloaded with Omega 6 fat.)
So, food for thought.
My friend, by the way, rants about the environment all the time, but he doesn’t eat grass fed which is much better for it, and buys plastic bottled water. His diet is better than the traditional American male, but he knows very little about shopping for better prices for clean food because–guess what, he doesn’t do it. He buys a bit of organic produce at a regular market where it’s much more expensive than Whole Foods or even a good coop he has access to. He knows nothing about Butcher Box or savings at Thrive, and of course, Amazon now offers a lot online.
Happy Monday! Food just happens to be that grass fed burger and some mushrooms. My great Kick Ass coffee, a salmon wrap for my son, and a couple eggs for me. Cheese and some onion for that burger! Maybe a bit of salad.
*Sorry, quite a few errors today–you never see them until you post that Publish button! Fixed up.