Fake Food is Cheap
People often ask me how I can afford to “eat organic.” It’s so expensive, they say. And they’re right.
Thanks to heavy government subsidies, foods produced by cheap corn and then trucked all over the nation are often less expensive than locally produced goods. Corn is everywhere, even though you can’t see it. As Michael Pollan wrote:
If you are what you eat, and especially if you eat industrial food, as 99 percent of Americans do, what you are is “corn.”
. . . Take a typical fast food meal. Corn is the sweetener in the soda. It’s in the corn-fed beef Big Mac patty, and in the high-fructose syrup in the bun, and in the secret sauce. Slim Jims are full of corn syrup, dextrose, cornstarch, and a great many additives. The “four different fuels” in a Lunchables meal, are all essentially corn-based. The chicken nugget—including feed for the chicken, fillers, binders, coating, and dipping sauce—is all corn. The french fries are made from potatoes, but odds are they’re fried in corn oil, the source of 50 percent of their calories. Even the salads at McDonald’s are full of high-fructose corn syrup and thickeners made from corn.
Thanks to documentaries like Food, Inc., people are becoming leery of high fructose corn syrup, pesticide, MSG, and GMO laden foods . . . and they’re changing their buying habits. Unfortunately, companies have capitalized on this and begun offering organic versions of fake food (highly processed foods with minimal nutritional value).
Organic Fake Food is REALLY Expensive
Organic corn dogs, pop tarts, and imitation Oreos are both expensive and unhealthy. Yes, they are healthier than the original, but not worth the price. People that simply want to take everything in their junk food pantry and replace it with an organic version are headed for two major letdowns: They won’t feel much better and it’s going to cost a fortune.
Real Food is More Expensive Than Fake Food
. . . but less expensive than the diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol medication you’re going to need if you stay on the junk. Whatever your budget, you can afford to buy real food. Here are some of my favorite blog posts on how to do just that. Check them out!
First up is Kristen, the genius behind Food Renegade. I can say genius because I knew her when she was an undergrad in the Philosophy program at DBU and she is extremely intelligent.
I feed my family of four nourishing, real foods on far less than the federal food stamp allotment for a family my size ($668/month). It takes a lot of thought, planning, and detective work to eat this way, but I do it.
Food Renegade, Eating Real Food on A Budget
This one is a MUST READ for anyone interested in getting the most bang for your buck. Ann Marie (aka Cheeseslave) does a fantastic breakdown of the per ounce cost of nutrient dense foods that is very eye opening. And her case for pastured eggs as a budget food is really good. My favorite part though, are the Trader Joe’s egg cartons. Don’t miss that.
It’s true that pastured eggs cost more. But isn’t it obvious that it is worth it? You’d have to eat 5 supermarket eggs to get the same amount of vitamin D from one pastured egg. You may be able to buy a dozen eggs for a buck or two at the grocery store, but you get what you pay for. The national average for pastured eggs is about $4-5 per dozen. However, they are worth that in terms of nutrient density.
Cheeseslave, Pastured Vs. Free Range Eggs
Kelly the Kitchen Kop has put together an index of all her money-saving ideas. This woman is my hero, ya’ll. She rescued Chinese food from never-never land and put it back on our family’s real food table. If you’ve never tried her egg roll recipe you’re missing out. Check out her post: Nourishing, Frugal Healthy Meals for cost cutting and recipe ideas.
Also, don’t miss The Nourishing Cook’s “Bang For Your Buck” recipes. In the coming weeks and months I will be posting more tips for how to save time and money without compromising on nutrition, but I need your help.
How do you stretch a dollar in your kitchen? Tell us your frugal secrets!
Got a tip for eating real food while staying within your budget? Please share it below!