Author Topic: Newsweek article on food and social classes  (Read 9178 times)

yorkville

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Newsweek article on food and social classes
« on: October 16, 2014, 08:15:09 AM »
Not sure if this is the right forum, but here are the memorable quotes from the article.

"an epidemiologist at the University of Washington, has spent his career showing that Americans’ food choices correlate to social class. He argues that the most nutritious diet—lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, and grains—is beyond the reach of the poorest Americans"

"Lower-income families don’t subsist on junk food and fast food because they lack nutritional education" "Lower-income families choose sugary, fat, and processed foods because they’re cheaper—and because they taste good."

"While food prices overall rose about 25 percent, the most nutritious foods (red peppers, raw oysters, spinach, mustard greens, romaine lettuce) rose 29 percent, while the least nutritious foods (white sugar, hard candy, jelly beans, and cola) rose just 16 percent."

"Tonight she’s making fried chicken wings with bottled barbecue sauce; yellow rice from a box; black beans from a can; broccoli; and carrots, cooked in olive oil and honey." "Several nights a week, they get takeout: Chinese, or Domino’s, or McDonald’s. Davis doesn’t buy fruits and vegetables mostly because they’re too expensive, and in the markets where she usually shops, they’re not fresh"


Here is the link

http://www.newsweek.com/what-food-says-about-class-america-69951

Bob W

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2014, 08:42:31 AM »
Seems like I saw a similar article on "why rich women are skinny"  (hint - because they eat their veggies and skip the sugar and exercise)

Same theory -  white carbs are cheap,  veggies aren't

These same folks advocate for poor people to have cable TV because they can't afford entertainment like plays,  sports and amusement parks.   

I think MMM states that he eats well on $3 per person per day.   I believe that is a pretty accurate number.   That's about $100 per month per person or below what food stamps pays out in my state.

If those that advocate this approach are for real, why don't they advocate allowing food stamps to be used for only high nutrient foods rather than advocating "food choice."   One can literally buy lobster and roast duck with food stamps and I've seen it done. 

I work in the mental health field where our average client has $110 in food stamps (SNAP) to spend a month.   I often assist them with shopping and this is what we buy --- eggs,  chicken,  ground beef, frozen veggies,  milk,  spaghetti,  potatoes, olive/grape oil, etc..  We do buy white carbs such as noodles and rice.  (we don't buy many fresh veggies because they spoil and no fruit because it is pure fructose with low nutrient density).   We don't buy chips,  soda, sugar products of processed packaged foods.   

The reality is that poor folks make poor decisions on a number of life issues in general.  (not everyone of course)

IMHO and as always I could be totally wrong. 

 

Chranstronaut

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2014, 09:04:06 AM »
I hit a pay wall, googled the title "What Food Says About Class in America" and the link from google should get you around it.


The first paragraphs are killing me.  I literally had to stop reading; I can't even read far enough to get to the poverty parts.  I get that the author is trying to juxtapose the high class side of things with the poverty side, but come-the-fuck-on.  "...the Fergusons spend approximately 20 percent of their income, or $1,000 a month, on food.  The average American spends 13 percent, including restaurants and takeout."  I spend 6% and I spend a SHIT TON more than I need to, including eating out as my true weakness.

It's not even about indulging yourself as the author claims.  Whole Foods MasterChef Moms are just the hottest trend for showing off to your neighbors.  "I pack my kids a lunch of organic grass fed steak that I hand cut into the shape of skeletons for Halloween and a container of home-made honey mustard kale sesame dressing on top of their kale and spinach salad with kale chips, tee hee."

This is one thing that infinitely pisses me off from my coworkers.  Eat good food.  Cook if it's your hobby, but don't tell me not to eat the pretzels at COSTCO because you think they are made with poison for being that cheap.  They're cheap because they are made of mostly air and flour and are subsidized by one of the best volumetric profit model business in the nation.  Also, you don't pack your lunch EVER or get your wife to make you some meat art, so don't get all up on my case if I still eat bread.  Sorry, this went to a dark place.

LalsConstant

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2014, 09:09:17 AM »
Well, this is one of those half true things.

1.  On the one hand, I can remember my days of working at Wal-Mart to get thru graduate school and got really, really fat doing it.

I'm paying for that now, through the nose.  Now please understand I could have made better choices and other overweight people with similar low paying jobs can too.  Let me be clear on that.

I am just pointing out that my circumstances made it easier for me to make poor food choices.

I don't think this necessarily has to do with the fact it was an $11 an hour job though; it was the fact money was tight and I was otherwise stressed.

At the time, I was going through some pretty bad depression, I was going to graduate school, I was paying off my debts, etc.

I think in the mix I just forgot to take care of myself.  My other problems just seemed so much more immediate.  I'm kicking myself now of course but it is what it is.

But my point is I think that happens to other people who work low paying jobs, if there's something else in their life that saps their time, willpower and attention, they simply turn to food that's easy to guzzle down and immediately gratifying (so sugar, salt, carbs, the comfort trifecta).

All that to say, I know as a lifelong comfort eater, you have to start feeling better about yourself as a person and believe you deserve better health before you even get it in your head to want to make changes.

Unhappy people do unfortunate things.  It's a terrible cycle, you are unhappy, you eat poorly, that makes you unhappier still and it repeats.  It takes some kind of breakthrough or epiphany in personal development to realize what is happening and stop it.

2.  I've recently lost 30 pounds and I've done it with lifestyle changes to the way I eat and what I do every day.  I have a lot more weight to lose of course but I feel like it's more of a matter of maintaining the new, good habits at this point.

Sure eventually I'm sure I'll start looking to refine my approach, but here's my actual problem:  I had conditioned myself, over many years, to eat very, very badly.

I have slowly, since about May of 2014, so about six months into this process now really, been changing what I eat.  I've done this by eating more of the foods I like that are better for me to eliminate the need to eat the foods that aren't good for me.

So maybe six months ago, I might have eaten a processed sugar laden confectionary for breakfast if I ate breakfast at all, drank a soda at work, eaten a sandwich with a sugary beverage and possibly a piece of fruit and some other side item that was probably too salty, then dinner would usually sound okay (like chicken and rice), but I was making it with processed convenience foods 3/4 of the time and getting lots of bad stuff with it.

Now I eat a piece of fruit, two whole wheat slices of toast with carefully measured toppings (it's most of my sugar for the day), drink mostly water at work, eat fruit and nuts with a little peanut butter or lean protein for lunch, and dinner is a big pot of vegetables cooked in a more healthy fat choice like olive oil with a lean protein.

Is my diet perfect?  No, I'm slowly improving it however.  But compared to what I was eating just earlier this year, my salt, sugar and carbs are way, way down to the level of sanity, not 4 times as much as I'm supposed to be eating, and even my fat intake is right at what My Fitness Pal says it's "supposed" to be, so it probably needs to be lower but it's not at critical mass either.

Now I tell you that to tell you this:  My grocery budget has not increased one nickel.

I attribute this to several things:

- First, since I'm counting calories, fat, protein, sugar, carbs, etc. I have to plan my meals out on a website with a database of nutrition information.  There's simply no other way to do it, I have to line it up.

Since my meals are planned, I no longer buy impulse foods, and I consume less food overall.

- Fruits and vegetables are not really any more expensive than the processed side dishes and stuff like that I used to eat.

- I eat less meat now, and meat tends to be expensive.

Admittedly, in terms of sheer calories per dollar, this diet is a bit more expensive.  I admit that.  But because I'm eating a reasonable volume of food now instead of an insane amount of food, it's equaling out.

However I don't buy that it's necessarily out of your financial reach to eat better, because for most people eating better means eating less and eating foods that tend to be a little less costly anyway.

However, to make this diet work, I've had to drop a couple hundred bucks on some better kitchen tools, better knives that can quickly process a large zuchinni for instance.

That could be a barrier to entry for people who don't have a couple hundred bucks to drop I suppose.

golden1

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2014, 09:18:07 AM »
I think one of the biggest contributing factors to systemic poverty (or just poor financial habits in general) in the US is the inability to delay gratification, and food choices are just another extension of that.  While I think food deserts exist, and that education is a factor, I don't think this is the ultimate reason why poorer people tend to make worse food choices. 

People in general want to feel good, they want that immediate pleasure.  We are not good at thinking for the long term usually.   If you have kids, you see it every day.  It takes time and positive mentors and role models to override our natural impulses. 

You can eat very cheap on rice, beans, a roasted chicken, some seasonal fruits and vegetables etc... and they really aren't very difficult to prepare or time consuming.  But this takes planning.  It takes the discipline to eat leftovers when you really want fresh food.  I think that when you are raised in poverty, you see examples all around you of people who make the quick and easy choice that gives you the most pleasure in the moment, because you are living a hand to mouth existence, and you just want to feel good, now.  Have sex, do drugs, buy the unhealthy chips that taste good because it feels good in the moment.  You can't worry about what is happening to your long term health because that is abstract and too far away to think about. 

gillstone

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2014, 09:30:57 AM »
One thing missed is that processed foods are easier to and quicker to cook.  We keep a our food budget for 4 relatively low even with organic foods etc because I can cook well.  If you don't have the time, energy, or motivation to learn to cook, then yellow rice from a box and black beans from a can are easier than brown rice and dried black beans.  Further, fresh fruits and vegetables can be more expensive if you don't have the knowledge of how to cook seasonally available vegetables.

If all you've ever cooked is frozen or canned foods then picking up celeriac or kohlrabi is intimidating.  Why spend the money on an unknown that you don't know how to prepare when the known is cheap and easy.  When you grow up eating shitty food, you get used to shitty food.  Green beans that haven't been pulped by the canning process don't taste "right" and fruit that doesn't come in syrup isn't sweet enough. 

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2014, 11:29:33 AM »
Not sure if this is the right forum, but here are the memorable quotes from the article.


"Tonight she’s making fried chicken wings with bottled barbecue sauce; yellow rice from a box; black beans from a can; broccoli; and carrots, cooked in olive oil and honey."


I don't see anything wrong with this meal. It has vegetables, meat, and legumes. Beans and rice from a can/box aren't the absolutely cheapest choice, but they're not an exploding volcano of wastefulness either.

going2ER

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2014, 11:46:10 AM »
I know the biggest thing for our family is planning. If we have our schedule up and it tells us what we are cooking on what day its done. Its healthy, nutritious and usually not expensive. For days that different activities are going on we may rely on the crockpot so that everyone gets something warm. But,when we don't get around to the planning we run into problems. That is when we are most likely to end up going out to eat or picking up some convience foods.

For those living on lower incomes their schedules may be more unpredictable, working different shifts, being called in to work, etc and just the lack of foresight to be able to plan the week/month out.

Elderwood17

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2014, 12:34:25 PM »
.  "I pack my kids a lunch of organic grass fed steak that I hand cut into the shape of skeletons for Halloween and a container of home-made honey mustard kale sesame dressing on top of their kale and spinach salad with kale chips, tee hee."

Now that cracked me up!  I do here people at work having "food fights" where they try to outdo each other on the newest strangest vegetable to have been 'rediscovered'.

I grew up eating crap (eg junk food) because that is what my mom served.  It is cheap, available, and my mom didn't know better.  It took a number of years and a bit of effort to relearn those habits and initially our food budget went up quite a bit. 

One advantage I have always had though that not everyone does, is a choice of good well stocked grocery outlets.  The concept of food deserts is very real in some areas.

gimp

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2014, 02:03:17 PM »
I ate well for years on $1/day. I did that by visiting only one store, that was on my way home from work, so no driving around to a bunch of places finding the best deals. I probably wouldn't feed a kid like that but $3/day is trivially easy for cheap and healthy living. Where I am, SNAP/EBT/whatever you want to call it is around $180/month per person. It's more than enough to live off.

mm1970

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2014, 03:27:22 PM »
Well, this is one of those half true things.

1.  On the one hand, I can remember my days of working at Wal-Mart to get thru graduate school and got really, really fat doing it.

I'm paying for that now, through the nose.  Now please understand I could have made better choices and other overweight people with similar low paying jobs can too.  Let me be clear on that.

I am just pointing out that my circumstances made it easier for me to make poor food choices.

I don't think this necessarily has to do with the fact it was an $11 an hour job though; it was the fact money was tight and I was otherwise stressed.

At the time, I was going through some pretty bad depression, I was going to graduate school, I was paying off my debts, etc.

I think in the mix I just forgot to take care of myself.  My other problems just seemed so much more immediate.  I'm kicking myself now of course but it is what it is.

But my point is I think that happens to other people who work low paying jobs, if there's something else in their life that saps their time, willpower and attention, they simply turn to food that's easy to guzzle down and immediately gratifying (so sugar, salt, carbs, the comfort trifecta).

All that to say, I know as a lifelong comfort eater, you have to start feeling better about yourself as a person and believe you deserve better health before you even get it in your head to want to make changes.

Unhappy people do unfortunate things.  It's a terrible cycle, you are unhappy, you eat poorly, that makes you unhappier still and it repeats.  It takes some kind of breakthrough or epiphany in personal development to realize what is happening and stop it.

2.  I've recently lost 30 pounds and I've done it with lifestyle changes to the way I eat and what I do every day.  I have a lot more weight to lose of course but I feel like it's more of a matter of maintaining the new, good habits at this point.

Sure eventually I'm sure I'll start looking to refine my approach, but here's my actual problem:  I had conditioned myself, over many years, to eat very, very badly.

I have slowly, since about May of 2014, so about six months into this process now really, been changing what I eat.  I've done this by eating more of the foods I like that are better for me to eliminate the need to eat the foods that aren't good for me.

So maybe six months ago, I might have eaten a processed sugar laden confectionary for breakfast if I ate breakfast at all, drank a soda at work, eaten a sandwich with a sugary beverage and possibly a piece of fruit and some other side item that was probably too salty, then dinner would usually sound okay (like chicken and rice), but I was making it with processed convenience foods 3/4 of the time and getting lots of bad stuff with it.

Now I eat a piece of fruit, two whole wheat slices of toast with carefully measured toppings (it's most of my sugar for the day), drink mostly water at work, eat fruit and nuts with a little peanut butter or lean protein for lunch, and dinner is a big pot of vegetables cooked in a more healthy fat choice like olive oil with a lean protein.

Is my diet perfect?  No, I'm slowly improving it however.  But compared to what I was eating just earlier this year, my salt, sugar and carbs are way, way down to the level of sanity, not 4 times as much as I'm supposed to be eating, and even my fat intake is right at what My Fitness Pal says it's "supposed" to be, so it probably needs to be lower but it's not at critical mass either.

Now I tell you that to tell you this:  My grocery budget has not increased one nickel.

I attribute this to several things:

- First, since I'm counting calories, fat, protein, sugar, carbs, etc. I have to plan my meals out on a website with a database of nutrition information.  There's simply no other way to do it, I have to line it up.

Since my meals are planned, I no longer buy impulse foods, and I consume less food overall.

- Fruits and vegetables are not really any more expensive than the processed side dishes and stuff like that I used to eat.

- I eat less meat now, and meat tends to be expensive.

Admittedly, in terms of sheer calories per dollar, this diet is a bit more expensive.  I admit that.  But because I'm eating a reasonable volume of food now instead of an insane amount of food, it's equaling out.

However I don't buy that it's necessarily out of your financial reach to eat better, because for most people eating better means eating less and eating foods that tend to be a little less costly anyway.

However, to make this diet work, I've had to drop a couple hundred bucks on some better kitchen tools, better knives that can quickly process a large zuchinni for instance.

That could be a barrier to entry for people who don't have a couple hundred bucks to drop I suppose.
I could have written much of this myself.  I definitely am busy counting calories now, so I feel your pain.

I think a big problem with the poor is stress.  Poor people tend to be under a LOT more stress, and that results in poor choices.  It affects your brain in a negative way.

TreeTired

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2014, 04:08:12 PM »
"because they’re cheaper—and because they taste good."


wait a cotton pickin minute.  Which is it?   Because those are 2 very different reasons for eating crap.

MrsPete

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2014, 07:10:44 PM »
I can't see much truth in this article at all.

First, I grew up poor . . . but we had fresh food.  We grew it.  Yeah, we ate a bunch of crap too, but it wasn't like we didn't know what apples were.  However, as I've said before, I am sure that one reason my growing-up-poor experience was different is that we were first generation poor, and that's a whole different ballgame:  My parents didn't have money, but they were aware that when a bit of cash came their way, they should spend it wisely -- and they did teach us to think long-term about health, education, and such things. 

I definitely think most poor kids don't grow up this way.  I mean, I see the free-lunch crowd every morning eating the same thing:  Pop Tarts.  Yeah, great use of my tax dollars.  It keeps the kids from being hungry, but it's a horrible nutritional choice.  Our cafeteria offers options like scrambled eggs or breakfast burritos.  But time after time, the kids choose the Pop Tarts. 

I remember one day the new Home Ec teacher brought us a big bunch of really good steamed broccoli at lunch.  They'd cooked it in class, and the kids wouldn't even touch it.  Now that she's more experienced, all she teaches them is to make cookies and cakes.  The kids are interested in those things. 

I also can't really accept that good food is "too expensive".  Every time we cook dried beans (which is about once a week -- always served with cornbread and milk), one of us says, "Why are people in America hungry?"  Too hard to cook?  No.  Pour beans into a crock pot (available at GoodWill for $2) and leave them all day. 

Also, keep in mind that although fresh vegetables may taste better, no-salt canned and frozen vegetables are just as healthful -- and they don't go bad.  I just made a big pot of vegetable soup today; it cost all of about $5, and we have enough leftovers for all of us for about two days of lunches.

I definitely agree with the poster who commented that it has to do with immediate gratification.  It has to do with, "I want something that tastes good right now -- so what if hamburgers are horrible for me?"  And those things become habits. 

Lyssa

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2014, 03:26:15 AM »
Seems like I saw a similar article on "why rich women are skinny"  (hint - because they eat their veggies and skip the sugar and exercise)

And because it is demanded from them. You don't want to look like a poor person, do you?

Imho both the search for immediate gratification via high sugar, fat and salt food and the hyper-controlled "only xyz calories/carbs/fat" a  day way of eating are deeply unhealthy.

Statistically, it's best for 30+ adults to be in the "normal" to very moderately overweight range. "Skinny" (unless a biological given despite regular or high caloric intake)  is not a health but a fashion choice and a way of signaling your status (self-controlled wealthy person). No problem at all if this is somebody's choice, I just don't like the pretense that this is the most healthy way of eating.

Abe

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2014, 07:04:52 AM »
I agree with people's assessment of ways to reduce food costs. My parents are both doctors, but we ate the same type of food they ate in rural India, and that was cheap as dirt. (Literally, potting soil from Home Depot costs more per pound). It consists of various types of beans/legumes (around 5 that we rotated through), dairy products we made from milk, and either flour or rice. Before people say it's impossible to cook that while working, my mother is a physician also. It takes about an hour, during which I helped with chores in the kitchen (formerly known as family time). I live in Chicago now, and my wife and I can still find cheap food in the big city. It's actually easier because there are more "ethnic" grocery stores here.

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2014, 07:26:59 AM »
Our county has a farmers market set up one day per week that people can use their food stamps to purchase quality produce at very affordable prices. They also have classes to teach cooking healthy meals for your family on a budget.  They use volunteers to run both of these programs.

kite

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2014, 07:18:32 AM »
Whoa!
She concedes her "approach is out of reach of those people." And yet, she doesn't realize she herself is one of "those" people.   If the 20% of their income that they spend on food each month for 4 of them comes to $1000, they have only $4000 in income for other essentials,  like housing,  heat, clothes,  retirement savings.   Park Slope is an expensive place to live.  Unless they are subsidized somehow, a $60k annual income for a family of 4 in Park Slope is a struggle.   They are likely shortchanging some other area of their financial lives and just haven't woken up to it yet. Oh, and those clementines will be "local" only in the distant global warmed future when New Jersey has a climate resembling Florida.   Park Slope will likely then be under water.
I think they are deluding themselves about how well they are doing and in which class they see themselves, much like the many Americans who believed themselves to be wealthy enough for granite counters and stainless steel appliances in the midst of the real estate bubble.   

MoneyCat

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2014, 08:49:30 AM »
I'm always amused when people who have lived comfortable lives for their entire existence try to fix the "stupid poor people."  I challenge you to move to Chester, PA and try to live under the conditions of the residents there.  Talk about "privilege".  Jeez.

iris lily

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2014, 09:12:57 AM »
I think one of the biggest contributing factors to systemic poverty (or just poor financial habits in general) in the US is the inability to delay gratification, and food choices are just another extension of that.  While I think food deserts exist, and that education is a factor, I don't think this is the ultimate reason why poorer people tend to make worse food choices. 

People in general want to feel good, they want that immediate pleasure.  We are not good at thinking for the long term usually.   If you have kids, you see it every day.  It takes time and positive mentors and role models to override our natural impulses. 

You can eat very cheap on rice, beans, a roasted chicken, some seasonal fruits and vegetables etc... and they really aren't very difficult to prepare or time consuming.  But this takes planning.  It takes the discipline to eat leftovers when you really want fresh food.  I think that when you are raised in poverty, you see examples all around you of people who make the quick and easy choice that gives you the most pleasure in the moment, because you are living a hand to mouth existence, and you just want to feel good, now.  Have sex, do drugs, buy the unhealthy chips that taste good because it feels good in the moment.  You can't worry about what is happening to your long term health because that is abstract and too far away to think about.

I agree with all of this. Eating in a healthy manner AND cheaply does takes planning and some low level cooking skills.And the idea about delayed gratification--right on.

randymarsh

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2014, 01:11:52 AM »
I don't know if I believe the "poor people don't buy healthy food because it's expensive" meme.

I moved out of my parents' house a few months ago so I've been buying groceries and cooking for myself for the 1st time. October was the first month since moving where I really tried to not eat out much. I've been surprised with how cheap groceries seem. I've still spent more than I really need to, but it's much cheaper than eating out. I haven't made anything fancy either so I'm not sure how much "cooking skill" has to do with it. Just lots of potatoes, eggs, salads, beans, fruits, vegetables, chicken, etc.

I think the delayed gratification theory holds more water. People who are prone to spend money as soon as they get it would be likely to choose foods humans are wired to want: sugar, salt, simple carbs. It's an overall trait of wanting what you want when you want it.
 

EastCoastMike

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2014, 11:30:58 AM »
I've also heard the statement that poor people eat poorly because there aren't any grocery stores where they live.  It's all fast food or convenience stores.  I have no idea how true that statement is, but I hear it a lot.

As an informal study, I opened google maps on Southeast Washington DC (one of the poorer areas) and looked for the big chain groceries.  Around here that's Shoppers, Giant, Safeway, and Harris Teeter.  I found 1 Safeway and a bunch of convenience stores.  By contrast, Northwest DC (one of the wealthier areas) had several big grocery stores as well as a couple organic stores (Whole Paycheck and MOM's Organic Grocery).  So maybe there is a kernel of truth to the hyperbole. 

On the other hand, a person with a cart on their bike could ride to the one grocery store in SE DC and buy groceries there.  It's only a couple miles.  Of course, that person risks getting robbed, mugged, and having her bike stolen, but that's another story.  When I worked with my last company, we had several sites in SE DC that I had to service.  Some parts are pretty rough.  Some are pretty decent though, such as where that particular Safeway is located.  I remember that area with small (900 sq ft) houses with postage stamp lawns, nice tree-lined sidewalks, and people out and about.

iris lily

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2014, 11:48:39 AM »
The other night I was talking to a friend who has lost 30 lbs. My conversation with her clarified "healthy eating" in my mind.

Eating a "reducing diet" is relatively expensive, at least, it's expensive in the way she is doing it. She buys a lot of expensive, low cal proteins such as salmon and scallops. Since she has no garden whatsoever, she has to buy all of her vegetables (other than those that we give her.) In order not to be completely bored with foods, she switches it up and buys sushi, for instance. This is all a "healthy" diet for leanness.

But there are plenty of "healthy" foods that are not part of reducing diets that are inexpensive. Beans, rice, root vegetables, cabbages, carrots, apples bananas. Those are the staples of "healthy" diet that does not pile on unnecessary calories, and, they are inexpensive. But as mentioned above, one needs to cook using these ingredients. 



 
« Last Edit: October 26, 2014, 01:10:09 PM by iris lily »

EastCoastMike

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2014, 11:49:56 AM »
I don't know if I believe the "poor people don't buy healthy food because it's expensive" meme.

I moved out of my parents' house a few months ago so I've been buying groceries and cooking for myself for the 1st time. October was the first month since moving where I really tried to not eat out much. I've been surprised with how cheap groceries seem. I've still spent more than I really need to, but it's much cheaper than eating out. I haven't made anything fancy either so I'm not sure how much "cooking skill" has to do with it. Just lots of potatoes, eggs, salads, beans, fruits, vegetables, chicken, etc.

I think the delayed gratification theory holds more water. People who are prone to spend money as soon as they get it would be likely to choose foods humans are wired to want: sugar, salt, simple carbs. It's an overall trait of wanting what you want when you want it.

You can do a lot with the ingredients you listed.  Take a look for boneless, skinless, chicken thighs.  They're normally a lot less expensive than chicken breast and you can usually pick up 5lb packs.  I subdivide the big packs into 1lb bags and freeze them.  I do the same thing with ground beef when it's on sale, except 1/2 bags.  Most recipes will call for 1/2lb ground beef increments or 1lb chicken, so it's pretty convenient to grab a bag and go.

If you have a crock pot, you can cook black beans ahead of time.  A 1lb bag of black beans costs about $1.29 at my local grocery store.  By comparison, a 15oz can of black beans costs $0.69.  1lb cooked beans is roughly equal to three 15oz cans, so you save $0.50 every three cans for not a lot of work.  Put the beans in a stock pot with water and let them soak overnight.  Works for chick peas, and other types of hard beans too. 


randymarsh

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2014, 04:13:35 PM »
If you have a crock pot, you can cook black beans ahead of time.  A 1lb bag of black beans costs about $1.29 at my local grocery store.  By comparison, a 15oz can of black beans costs $0.69.  1lb cooked beans is roughly equal to three 15oz cans, so you save $0.50 every three cans for not a lot of work.  Put the beans in a stock pot with water and let them soak overnight.  Works for chick peas, and other types of hard beans too.

I'm a big fan of the crockpot! I lived in my own apartment for a semester of college and while I mostly ate out, any cooking that got done was with my crockpot.

This was the recipe that got me started: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/11/salsa-chicken-and-black-bean-soup.html

Very simple to make and easy to change up by using different salsas.

dplasters

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2014, 07:28:27 AM »
You can get goya 6 packs of black beans for way less than a dollar a can at Costco.

You can get canned black beans for even less at Aldi (.60 cents a can).



What the hell is wrong with canned beans?

sheepstache

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2014, 08:30:58 AM »
The article isn't about economic class; it's about social class. I'm american, as are a lot of folks on this board, so I know we have a horror of talking about social class, but that's the easy answer in this case.

It's like someone has taken the set of odd numbers and labeled them just 'numbers' and taken the set of even numbers and done the same thing and now people are having long, tangled, debates about whether numbers are divisible by 2 or not. Not that distinctions between classes are precise (nor am I saying you can't change your class), but it illustrates what happens to a thought process when relevant vocabulary is taken away. That's why it doesn't make sense to argue about how "poor" people eat.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2014, 10:04:26 AM by sheepstache »

PloddingInsight

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2014, 08:38:24 AM »
The personality traits that lead to healthy eating also lead to economic success.  That's pretty much it.

What precedes eating healthy?  Thinking ahead, envisioning what kind of future you want to have, believing your choices make a difference in your future, educating yourself, evaluating multiple contradictory sources of information, forming a plan of action, executing on that plan.

If that is how you live, you will eat healthy.  But it will also lift you out of poverty.  So there you go.

justajane

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #27 on: October 27, 2014, 08:58:27 AM »
You can get goya 6 packs of black beans for way less than a dollar a can at Costco.

You can get canned black beans for even less at Aldi (.60 cents a can).



What the hell is wrong with canned beans?

Nothing. And I also didn't think that woman's meal with boxed rice and a can of black beans sounded that terrible health wise. It's all about portion control. There's a ton of moralizing and pseudo-science that gets mixed in with discussions of food these days. There's also class, like the article points out. You buy Annie's instead of Kraft to separate yourself from the hoi polloi, etc.

I can only eat canned beans these days. I prefer dried, but the past five times I've eaten them I have had backbreaking pain in my colon for hours on end. No idea why, but canned beans doesn't do it.

GuitarStv

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2014, 11:48:56 AM »
How did you prepare the dried beans?

justajane

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2014, 06:58:27 AM »
How did you prepare the dried beans?

I would soak them overnight, rinse them, bring to a boil, and simmer for hours. I have also done them in the crockpot and also had the same reaction when my mom did them in a pressure cooker. I would love to fix the problem, as they are cheaper and taste better. But feeling like you have an appendicitis is not worth the savings.

ketchup

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Re: Newsweek article on food and social classes
« Reply #30 on: October 28, 2014, 08:18:18 AM »
I was blown away by my girlfriend's brother talking about how much his friend got in food stamps.  Something like $180 for one person.  That's more than we spend on groceries per person, and we eat WELL.  I talked to him more about it, and apparently they aren't strict at all about what food stamps are spent on.  His friend can spend that $180 entirely on chocolate milk and donuts if he wants.  Eating healthy is not expensive.