The Cost of Eating
Does it cost more to eat healthy? The answer—at least for us—is a definite, “No!” In the last post we shared our food cost for June. The beautiful wife (BW) and I saved our receipts, which totaled $428 for a month of food. This is well below the $516 cost of the average moderate diet for two adults, according to the USDA.
Bottom line: To live longer and save money, write a menu and shopping list, then do your own cooking,
Last week reader Denae noted the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats and provided a link to pictures from the book showing the weekly food of 30 families around the world. Back when this book came out I was less aware of food. Now I find the differences around the world quite revealing. I spent last evening studying the pictures of each family’s food for a week. You can learn a lot from those pictures.
A refugee family in Chad ate for $1.23 a week. A prosperous family in Germany spent the most, $500. Now that’s a big difference. Funny thing—the poor refugees looked healthier. The poorest people eat pretty much as people have always eaten—vegetables and grains with a little fruit and a bit of meat. The richer nations eat mostly processed foods—I estimated that 2/3 of their food came processed and packaged, just 1/3 was natural, and there was a lot of meat.
Bottom line: The very poor eat plant food in its natural form, as it was created. The well-to-do eat processed foods. My odd conclusion: It’s healthier to be third-world poor.
Last Week’s Menu
We’re into summer eating so meals are simpler—more fruit, less cooking. The week started in the mountains, at Midway, and finished back home in California. After a travel week, we take a few days off from serious cooking.
- Amy’s Pasta (leftover from Sunday)
- Green Salad
- WW Bread
- Root Beer Float (A guilty pleasure someone left behind; didn’t want to waste it.)
- Tamales (Last of the Costco tamales from the freezer.)
- Salsa (We made a quick salsa using tomatoes and onion.)
- Green salad
- A travel day, we ate at Café Rio in Cedar City.
- Tuna salad sandwich—that’s all, just a sandwich for dinner.
- Sushi (From a new Whole Foods store.)
- Tuna Salad Sandwich (Finished the tuna.)
Health Food Stores
A new Whole Foods store opened and the BW likes their sushi so we had it Friday night. There’s an older Sprouts (formerly Henry’s) nearby and I thought the new store would dominate the healthy food business. But it turns out that they’re different stores. Sprouts is serious about good produce and stuff sold in bins—grains, granola, legumes, seeds and nuts. Whole Foods is more expensive and has a big deli area, so it’s popular with working people not on a budget and too tired to cook.
Here’s another example: Sprouts offers the usual legumes in bulk at a good price; Whole Foods had 15 kinds of beans, 12 I had never heard of before, all at higher prices than Sprouts. So they actually don’t compete head-on. Whole Foods is fancier but I prefer Sprouts—but I’m a cheap guy.