Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Is eating healthy expensive?

We all know why people call Whole Foods "Whole Paycheck." But does it really cost more to eat healthy? A study investigated this question and came back with an unequivocal "yes." However, in a story published in the New York Times, many readers questioned the study and its findings.

One of the issues at the heart of the debate (and I only got half-way through the comments) is the lentil question. Many readers insist that you can eat healthy if you cook bulk foods like lentils and beans. The author of the article counters that beans are boing and no one wants a monotonous diet like that anyhow.

I know a thing or two about beans and grains, and I know that there is a huge variety available and that these foods can be delicious. Sure, a ham hock helps out the split pea soup, but that's a relatively cheap cut of meat. And have you ever had French green lentils with Dijion mustard and shallots? Clearly another aspect to this issue is that eating healthy and keeping costs down requires a certain amount of knowledge and skill.

Of course, being a Park Slope Food Coop member, I am completely out of touch with the real world of food consumption.

What do you think?


Rayshine said...

I'm thinking I'd love to see you recipe for French green lentils with Dijion mustard and shallots :)

I disagree that eating healthily has to be expensive. IMO it's a question of balancing the ingredients. It's certainly no more expensive than eating out and who knows what you are eating then. Shopping wisely can make a huge difference too. I love farmers markets for example and taking time to get to know your butcher & fishmonger can help too!

Kate The Great said...

Yes, healthy food eating is expensive. There's one Whole Foods store in the area, and I've been inside once... to get wheat seed to plant wheat grass (a project that failed miserably, despite four or five tries). It takes a lot of gas to get there, and I have no idea what their hours are. It takes much more gas to get to Farmer's Markets. Plus there's the sacrifice of going when we're regularly scheduled to work, thus losing money that way. And sacrificing the time we would be using to do homework instead. We have to pay for those classes we're working for; if we flunk those classes because we're shopping for Really Healthy Foods, then we have to pay for those classes again, which is just more money.

I can't wait until I graduate on Friday; can you tell?

Luisa Perkins said...

Food should be expensive; historically it has always been much more expensive (as a percentage of income) than it is in general now. Americans are addicted to cheap food, ignoring the nightmarish environmental impacts of this very new trend.

Adriana Velez said...

Rayshine, I'll have to look up that recipe.

Kate, point well taken -- time is money.

Luisa, you bring up an important point. Like so many other things in American life, food is cheaper than it ought to be. We were just at the Water exhibit at the AMNH and learned about how much "virtual water" goes into, say, a pound of beef. Shocking. I find myself on the verge of rambling, so maybe I'll make this the start of another discussion post next week.