Friday, August 08, 2008

Cheap vs. Local food

I am pretty depressed about the report I heard driving home on NPR today. It was saying how fast food joints, especially McDonalds, are benefitting from the downturn in the economy. People can't afford to eat as much at casual dining restaurants so they are choosing fast food. Plus, they are less likely to spend as much gas on going to McDonald's since there is likely one close-by.

Also saddened by the sight of my college-educated co-worker, eating Great Value (Wal-mart brand) Reduced Fat Peanut Butter on her apple slices for lunch. I'm sure she was trying to make a nutritious, economical choice. But just how do you make Peanut Butter Reduced Fat? I picked up the jar and the label said, "Ground Peanuts, High Fructose Corn Syrup..." ah, add in a terrible source of pure carbohydrates, and then, "fully hydrogenated soybean oil," a source of fat that proven harmful to your health.

It is sad that in this country food that is higher in calories (and worse for your body) is cheaper and more accessible, especially to people with limited incomes. Tomorrow I'll go to the Farmer's Market and load up on fresh, local produce, but it won't come cheap. I'm OK with that; I'd rather my dollars go directly to the farmers, ones I get to talk to about what they are growing and compare notes on our tomatoes. They are more interested in growing a small harvest without chemicals than sending a large, unblemished crop to the mass distributor. But I realize not everyone can splurge like this, or would even want to make the effort. Not everyone is a foodie, nor do all my friends enjoy my family's dual income.

McDonald's is OK once in a blue moon, but there should be better choices for people. It certainly is cheaper to fix your own, but there should be fresher, less processed choices than the uber-marketed "Reduced Fat Peanut Butter," that someone buys to be healthy that might make them die of arteriosclerosis.


peevish said...

Amen, sister. I also think about the low-income people who live in neighborhoods which don't even have a real grocery store, only convenience stores. Can you imagine having to feed your family from 7-Eleven because you don't have a car to drive to a proper food store?

mainlyclearskies said...

I completely agree. I am so thankful that I have money to spend on healthy foods. I wish they were more affordable for all. I also wish people were more educated about what is truly healthy.

The Laukkanen's said...

I am trying to be so much better and cook my own healthy meals at least 5 days a week (I am eating left overs the 2 days I work). My first week I spent $200 at the grocery store-for that week only for 2.5 of us (Suvi not eating yet)! I bought all organic and it was insane! I really want to keep it up but probably can't go all healthy organic all the time unfortunately. And Heikki and I both work! That is what is really scary!