Why is Junk Food So Cheap? : Renegade Health Exclusive Article

Wednesday Mar 23, 2011 | BY |
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laramie wyoming
This is what -15 degrees looks like from inside the RV (actually not that bad, right?)

As I was writing my post about making your own organic latex mattress, I was reminded of a story that I wanted to share with you…

The story is quick, but I think it clearly explains why our health – as a global community – is suffering.

At times, while we were on the road, we’d spend the night in a Walmart parking lot.

Most Walmarts allow you park your RV and spend a night or two in the back of their lot without hassle.

The only time staying over is an issue is if they need to clear the lot of snow (we were asked to move at 3:30 AM in Pittsburgh) or if the Walmart is in a prime location – like right by the beach or in the middle of a big city.

One night, we stopped in Laramie, Wyoming.

It was actually the first night we stopped anywhere with the RV, since we had just picked it up and were on our way back to Connecticut to pack it full of our things to hit the road.

In Laramie, it was snowing lightly, but it also was -15 degrees Fahrenheit.

You could say it was a little cold.

Once we parked the RV, we decided not to turn off the engine over night because if the diesel fuel gelled we’d end up in Laramie for days trying to heat up the fuel lines enough to get it started again – particularly if it stayed below zero.

Since it was our first night in the RV, we had no idea how cold it would be. We prepared for the worst by walking into Walmart to see if they had an extra blanket we could use just so we wouldn’t turn into icicles.

Inside, we found our blanket, and as we were checking out Annmarie and I noticed a few pallets by the entrance that we didn’t see as we were coming in.

There were three of them in a row, each stacked about my shoulder height with boxes of food.

One pallet was stacked high with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

The other Cheeze-Its.

The last, I can’t remember, but it doesn’t matter. The first two are relevant enough.

Above each pallet and mountain of boxes was a banner advertising their sale prices.

The Cheeze-Its were $0.99 for a big old box.

The Mac and Cheese even cheaper at $0.29.

I commented to Annmarie, “it’s no wonder people buy that stuff, you can’t beat the price.”

She agreed.

If you had $4.00 in your pocket when you walked into Walmart, had 5 people to feed and didn’t have any valid nutritional education (even if you did), what would you buy?

A head of lettuce and some apples, or a dozen or so boxes of Mac and Cheese?

The truth is, in terms of calories and staving off hunger, the Mac and Cheese makes more – short-term – sense.

In terms of calories per dollar, you can’t even buy produce for the price of these boxed “foods.”

A head of romaine lettuce (non organic) at $1.00 contains about 100-130 calories.

A box of Cheeze-Its at $0.99 contains about 1950 calories or so (150 calories per every 27 crackers for a total of about 13 servings.)

Now, you and I understand that Cheeze-Its are nutritionally weak (more like nutritionally irrelevant), but they do fill you up.

So when faced with hunger, a box of Cheeze-Its for a family who can’t afford much more, seems like a decent choice.

You can find a similar calories per dollar ratio with the Mac and Cheese.

Basically, what I’m laying out here is a truth about food that needs to change.

The junk is cheaper than the good stuff.

So the decision for a family in need to eat food (regardless if it’s healthy or not) is based on their need to survive.

This behavior isn’t limited to just people with little money. I know people with lots of money who compromise their health every day by buying food that is cheaper – just because it’s cheaper. If organic vegetables cost less, they’d buy them – but they don’t – so they stick to the cheapest food they can buy.

What this experience came down to for me (yes, I was still in the checkout line), is that people who can’t afford food need to grow their own – or at least that seemed like a good option.

When I thought about that for a bit, I saw that was a little idealistic and shortsighted as well.

It doesn’t cost much to get a garden started, but does take a little time to cultivate. I don’t have any hard numbers on this, but I wonder what the time and money spent in the garden would cost vs. the time spent at a job bringing in money to purchase food. Would there be a better return on your investment if you grew your own?

I guess it would depend on where you live, what you planted, and what type of care it needed.

So for instance if you could grow apple trees, avocados, or mangoes they might yield a ton (literally) of fruit in a season or two which would clearly justify the cost of initial planting and minimal upkeep.

Growing other fruits and vegetable, making sure the animals don’t eat them, and trial and error all cost a good deal of time and money to get right.

But this internal dialogue I was having didn’t mean anything, unless my hypothetical family lives in a place where they can plant a tree or even have room for a garden. (There are community gardens, but some have waiting lists longer than the list for Steelers football season tickets – for those of you who don’t know, that’s a long time.)

So for people in rural areas this may not be problem, but in the cities, it becomes much more difficult to manage or even find land to plant food.

You, of course, can get creative and grow things inside, but that may not yield enough and really is only a limited option to passionate health freaks like us. The majority of the people won’t do it.

So the truth is, when all is said and done in a garden, it may not be the most complete answer to help solve our food pricing dilemma. It’s a partial solution for some, a full solution for less, but definitely not a system for all.

The true solution is identifying the true cost of food and making sure good healthy food is cheaper then the junk.

Growing all that wheat to make Cheeze-Its and Kraft Mac and Cheese, producing the cheese (either on a farm or in a chemical factory) and shipping those boxes to Laramie, Wyoming probably – in real costs – is more expensive than the sticker price per box.

The reason it works is because there are subsidies, by the government, paid to the dairy and wheat industries (to the soy, corn and beef industries as well) to help pay for the real cost of making that food (or non-food.)

Back in the RV, under our new – very warm and very synthetic comforter (hey, it was the only thing they had… and, surprise, it was cheap!) – I told Annmarie that I was still thinking about a solution.

The only thing I could come up with is if the government flopped the subsidies.

So instead of subsidizing high energy dependent, low nutrient dense food like wheat and corn, the government could help defer the costs of producing nutrient dense food like spinach and other leafy greens, fruits, brown rice, lentils and more.

Lentils are cheap enough already, imagine if they were subsidized? They might be able to give them away – which would be a victory in itself.

But what would it take to reverse the government funding?

It’s about as challenging as taking away a lollipop from a baby without having it kick and scream.

The industry is so dependent on government money that it would literally fight to the death. It’s their livelihood.

Plus, it’s the livelihood of the government because the industries create jobs and workers pay taxes.

As I was dozing off to sleep, I wasn’t able to come up with a true solution. I, actually, still haven’t been able to figure out just how big of a seismic shift is needed to change the subsidies to actually make them work in a way that works for us.

I don’t even know if that is the right solution at all.

It seems to me that any change that’s needed to be made, needs to happen outside of governmental controls first. Communities need to come up with solutions for their own people, once these systems are in place, we, as a population, can pick the best and roll them out on a larger scale.

Or, just keep them in community, where food really should be grown and distributed in the first place.

Maybe that’s the large scale – on a small scale – solution that makes the most sense.

Stop everything from being so large.

That night is Laramie, Wyoming was over 2 years ago. Since then I’ve seen the inside of at least 2 dozen Walmarts. The situation is the same all across the country.

It’s the same in other countries as well.

The good food is just too expensive for people to buy.

People, as you know, vote with their wallets. If we want good food to win, we need to figure out ways to make it affordable.

I want to know your thoughts: What is your solution to food prices? Have you thought about ways to help change the food system and how food can be cheaper for those who need it most?

UPDATE: Maybe this is one way to start… check out the second video… click here!

Live Awesome!
Kev

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

32 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. Gavin says:

    It is possible right this very moment using current technology to create sky scrapers worldwide full of delicious hydroponic and aeroponic organic and mineral densely grown produce and all types of real foods, off clean energy and entirely sustainable.

    This can happen around the world.

    It is up to open minded people to share such information until enough of our entire society becomes so aware that we will stop participating in the game of money. When there’s money involved, social concern is second.

    And government is a failing industry. As shocking as that might sound, we as a society can become so aware, that abbhorent behavior is no longer supported and we have no need for big corporations such as governments to make decisions about how we live our lives.

    We can build wellness centers, yoga centers, housing, every kind of place that benefits society as a whole AND we have the resources…. we have all that.

    But there will NEVER be enough money for those things. Why is that?

    Until we pull ourselves out of the monetary paradigm, we will stay wage slaves. It hinders our progress as a race.

    There are MANY free energies with UNLIMITED supply and much efficiency. I’m hoping we can create the best planet ever. If we become energy independent we can really change things.

  2. When you get to the level of thinking about these issues, there are SO many facets that are beyond our control that it can very easily start to feel hopeless. I think the solution is to continue focusing on the positive impacts we can have, change things in whatever way we’re able, connect with people who are focused on the same goals – and make sure we just keep working and moving forward. Things never change overnight, and you often can’t see the tipping point until it’s already happened.

    For food security in particular, there are definitely community-oriented things that need to be done, by both citizens and municipal politicians, and large-scale legislation to encourage those who aren’t motivated to change. Municipal politics can have a huge impact in terms of use of public space, user-pay fees for certain polluting services (i.e. garbage vs compost collection), and all kinds of things. There are lots of young adults starting to run for municipal office – that’s a great trend, and a great place for new ideas to break through. It’s much more difficult to change on the state/province or country level

  3. Jana says:

    In an ideal world our government would be subsidizing foods that truly nourish us. The sheer size our current system makes change especially challenging. Yet, much of what is wrong could be remedied by subsidizing crops that are genuinely good for us.

    I think the other part of the equation, for which I have no answer, is knocking money out of the top rung of what is important. Money is important, sure, but I personally don’t think it ever belongs in the top rung every moment of every day. It is the final deciding factor in too many instances where human decency should prevail.

  4. Amanda says:

    I live in the FRIGID weather of South Dakota, and for years thought how wonderful it would be if the government decided to fund projects like ‘Community Greenhouses’.
    They’d have to be VERY big, of course to bring in enough produce for towns, but it would provide jobs in a sustainable field, cut down on CO2 Emissions, and would make the prices of produce drop.
    Because one can’t grow all year in these weathers, it always seemed like a good ‘start’ to me, at least.

    What could be better than gardening for a living, either…hey?

  5. Michelle says:

    You are dead right about the food being cheap and thus no other choice.

    As a child we were homeless for many years and we ate mac and cheese and hot dogs, cos they were on sale and cheap. That is when we did eat. There was never even a though to eating healthy food – that was for rich people.

    Nice to know that even rich people don’t eat healthy. But after years of poor eating and not knowing any better as I was on my own and eating whatever was the cheapest, ex: 2 tacos for 00 cents … dont even have to cook or buy milk and butter like you would for mac and cheese.

    Now however I live with the health consequences of such eating habits and life style. Even eating healthy now hasn’t helped my health, but I’ve learned a lot about organic food, juicing and unhealthy dental practices from tons of documentaries, I’m making progress toward better health. Although those cravings for mac & cheese and candy still haunt me, I know its horribly bad especially for me.

    I wish healthy food was more affordable so less would end up with health issues like mine or worse.

  6. Have you ever seen the movie “Food, Inc.” (You can rent it or stream it on Netflix.) It documents exactly what your talking about. Who’s going to purchase a bag of spinach for $3.00 when you can buy all this processed stuff for less than a buck?

    We do a garden every year (and it gets bigger every year too!) What was hard Georgia clay 14 years ago is also nutrient rich soil from our compost pile.

    We’re even talking about freezing and canning some of the produce this year. Sure the seeds cost like $4 a pack way back when, but we also harvest the seeds every year.

    Our son calls it “free food” and he’s not that far off. LOL!

  7. Mimi says:

    It seems that powerful people and entities are nefariously working to close any and all gaps that may be open to the regular person. Home gardening is a great idea but Monsanto is quickly polluting any and all seed sources and the legislation that recently passed in the Food Modernization Act will allow the federal government to infringe on even the lone homeowner trying to produce some of his own foods. Think that is an exaggeration of the bill? Think again. It is already happening. We recently had a co-op truck taken into custody and all the food contents were impounded by a federal agency (forget which one) on the basis of food safety. We may very well have to take an underground approach in hiding heirloom seeds (also outlawed in the legislation) as well as growing foods indoors. When one tries to upset the avenues of money and power, one is going up against some tremendous forces. Sadly, our food production is no longer about health and the nurture of citizens. see http://www.opednews.com/articles/Urgent–SB-510-Will-Allow-by-Lora-Chamberlain-100802-513.html also see http://twg2a.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/sb-510-food-modernization-act-passed/

  8. GK says:

    Thanks for inviting ideas! Regarding the Detroit urban gardens (RE: the link you supply above), urban gardening needs soil tests that rural garden often don’t, and that is for lead and other contaminants. See article at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/03/23/state/n002842D20.DTL

  9. GERI says:

    Great, great artical Kevin I love it and it is so very very true the same goes for clothing,shoes, skin, hair,teeth products, furniture & housing..

    However it is how the society is and the govt and we created it..

    Would some of these folks, even if they had the sapce bother to educate themselves or plant and take care of a garden then eat the food????

    Ha Ha I know folks who have eaten wholesome food know how good they feel and still go back to junk.

    Yes some of us would like to see the world a better place, but if Christ walked the earth and could not save everyone neither can we.

    We just need to walk the walk and let others ask us WHY we look so good and have great energy and dispositions.

    We can also buy a plot of land and invite those who can not grow their own, to come out and assist in planting, etc and take food home for themselves…

    Lots of ways to assist…go to your churches and communities and ask them to build a garden with the communities help and on & on & on

    Hugs and thanks again 4 the great article, Kevin…

  10. I have had this idea that I think could work. Maybe it is already being done. I would love to hear, if it is. There are many elderly people in my community that have always had a garden area, or fruit and nut trees, that they can no longer tend. Families could offer to plant and tend their garden and ask the owners of the land for their expertise and guidance. When harvest time came they could share with the elders and feed their family or friends with the rest.

  11. Eridawni says:

    Hey Kevin:

    You are not alone in thinking these issues through. I have not found the solution, however feel gardening is the greatest instrument at the moment for keeping ample greens in supply.

    I have been a gardener in training through volunteering at community gardens. I have also been volunteering at CSAs since a youngster. Now, I volunteer for a CSA that works out to be very expensive due to its high standards chosen. So CSAs are not the best solution when it comes to cost savings.

    At Mom’s market in Rockville, Maryland, I paid $8.43 for two organic cucumbers. While conventional cucumbers are going for $1 each. The crop was impacted by weather and the supply is short.

    I am on day 21 of my juice feast so the timing is poor. Cucumbers and celery are important components of my daily gallon of veggie juices.

    Having to amass larges quantities of greens, etc. for my journey into deep rejuvenation with Juice Feasting has truly opened my eyes (which by the way are shining like a girl totally turned on by life) to the high cost of organic, living food.

    So I am thinking solutions also…Kevin.

  12. debby says:

    I too have had similar thoughts about the costs of food. Our government is supposed to represt our will, it doesn’t. Human health is supposed to be important and yet, government actions prove otherwise. Subsidies for corn, wheat,and soybeans should be phased out over a period of time [3-4 years]. This would raise the price of those items and make junk food much more expensive.
    What sense does it make to grow spinach, lettuce and lots of other green produce in California, Texas, and Florida and then have to ship across the country? Hydroponic is one answer as is hoop houses that can be used to extend growing seasons. The USDA is giving money to some growers for hoop houses. The local community would have to support the local growers.
    The federal government is the biggest problem along with agri-food conglomerates. One has to take a good hard look at what you can change and where you spend your hard earned dollars.
    A garden is good idea if you have access to some land. I have already planted seeds for the cool crops of spinach,kale, lettuces, beets,and carrots about 10 days ago [have sprouts peaking through the ground] and have planted a second crop of seeds.
    Another thought for high nutrition is sprouting. I have sprouted store bought peas,variety of beans, lentils and others seeds. This type of nutrition is relatively inexpensive and if combined with good greens makes a good foundation to a meal.
    It is a complex issue with many moving parts and a huge variety of issues.

    Thanks for all you do!

  13. barbara says:

    Two of my thoughts:

    1. No food gets subsidies, all on an even “growing” field. Subsidies, as your thoughts show, favor a farm/crop, take from one and give to another so not a win-win situation at all and not constitutional.

    2. alot of local family run farms get put up for sale for various reasons and are bought by real estate developers for housing developments or industrial/commercial parks.

    My thought is to start an organization that looks for these farms that are up for sale nationally and funds the purchase of the land for community farms probably as cooperatives because then the people work it, have a stake in it, and get some food for a portion of their monthly dues, balance to run the farms. I haven’t mentioned all details but you get the gist of it.

  14. Angie says:

    It takes motivation to be healthy, and the more you want to be healthy, the more you look for solutions. It would be nice if the better stuff was cheaper, because then people would be healthier by default.

    As for growing your own food, it’s pretty tough to grow anything at -15 degrees. :) There would be a great expense to build greenhouses with heating systems in order to grow your own food – I know, because I live with a winter that is not even that cold, and it would cost a bundle for me to grow much food year-round where I live. My summer garden (which I feel truly blessed to have) is like a second job minus costs for transportation & child care. We have chickens, fruit trees, grapevines, and a large garden area, but it is nowhere near enough to provide even a significant portion of our food, and most people have less area than we have. I order organic groceries from http://www.azurestandard.com and I grow food and make things from scratch. I also prioritize and spend a significant portion of my income on good food. Not everyone has the same options I have, and I may not have them for much longer. I’m open to any solution that helps us all eat & live better permanently!

  15. John DeMoss says:

    Kevin Im just glad you have some logic and spend your nights thinking on the behalf of all of us and a better world and really get it!Some people are locked away in a castle preaching while you’re traveling around in a RV getting the real picture. Thanks

  16. John H says:

    I know this isn’t the total answer but everyone could grow various sprouts, wheat, and barley grass. Good nutritious inexpensive live food you can grow and consume all year long no matter where you live. Would be a good start to better health.

  17. sheri says:

    Hi
    I just wanted to say how inexpensive growing sunflower greens indoors is. Maybe about 25 cents a week, and they are so good for you. The black seeds you feed the birds, and some good potting soil is all you need in a shallow dish.
    Directions are on UBraw.com.
    Enjoy

  18. Mary Dicerni says:

    God gave us seeds and animals. Let us use them.
    Are we talking about people on welfare, or those who are just not getting a proper wage ? Could we help the homeless and those on welfare by building or buying farms where we have all these open spaces.. in this large north america.
    I keep seeing where we pay thousands to move silly wild rabbits that are doing harm, and over-run with wild geese which are also causing many problems. Now they found a bunch of wild pigs, and do not know what to do with them. We also have aggressive deer and too many of them. When will they wake up, and teach people how to skin or carve them. That might feed a lot of soup kitchens. They should find farms and set up motel type units for the homeless to work there and when they want to move to town, may have a new butcher licence or farming experience and teach city folk how to do it.. They could grow tomatoes ripe and dry them for winter sales..
    It bothers me to see people in need, and then we spend thousands of dollars to move thousands of rabbits that could be eaten in a spaghetti sauce..Who spends in this way ? Every city does.. they pay to move animals God gives us to feed our poor. I do not buy any corn that might be GMO, and am waiting for the fresh corn at the farm.. We need more farms , and people need jobs. why are we so blind ?
    When will we see a can of corn, with NON-GMO ? Our trusted people are not being trustworthy anymore, and we need to start a new trustworthy system. The Kraft dinner does not taste anywhere as good as it did 30 years ago. What did they change ? It is terrible now.
    I wold like to see shops selling the dried raw organic foods and crackers etc, from kale and other veggies. If we could find a few universal recipes, and we all make it, and take it to the local shops, it may get known enough to have people looking for it, because it is good and healthy. How do we figure out just one or two recipes that can sell at a reasonable price, and even place packages in the schools ?? What we need is a big discussion, but first outline the needs, and find some prices of produce needed to make the magic recipes and the cost.. I wish I was smarter and could put these ideas to fruition.
    It takes a lot of info from a lot of people. We may have a good group on this site.. start thinking how to change this silly problem.. mary

  19. christine says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Great blog. You are right of course – the same is true in other countries. I live in New Zealand and can go and buy a large take out pizza dripping in fat and cheese cheaper than I can buy the vegetables and ingredients to make a healthy home made pizza or another meal. We have a government tax on all food products here paid at the checkout similar to the USA. There was a move last year to try to get the government to drop the tax on all fruit and vegetables, so prices for healthy food would come down. The government refused with all sorts of excuses about it being too hard to do.

    I don’t have any answers to the problem you describe – wish I did.

  20. Patricia says:

    Kevin, this is the kind of mature, insightful content I love to see. Thinking about what I can do. Thank you.

  21. Michelle says:

    I read this post this morning and have been thinking about it all day. It was really refreshing to read your non judgmental point of view, with positive ideas on what we can do to start to implement change. Great stuff!

  22. Andréa Walker says:

    Education is the key really.

    First off I have been a single mother for most of my son’s life and I determined that he would only eat healthy foods at his home or lunchs that were sent to school. As a result I have an adult now who is happy, healthy and buys organic over any other food.

    How did I do this… simple really. My sofa was given to me and I purchased a new one later when I could afford one. My tv was a hand-me-down and I got a new one when I could afford it. My son got one well thought out gift at Christmas (our other family members also gave his something). He didn’t feel deprived, actually he felt special to get one important gift. As an adult he is very conciencious of being materialistic.

    We were not poor, I was a mother who chose good food, good cloths and playing in the park together over Tv, nintendo, ice-cream, smoking, drinking and all the other crap that people put before them as important before good nutrition, clothing and family time.

    Granted there are families that are truely in need, I also had to go to the food bank a time or two when he was really young. What did it teach me… to work harder and smarter to never have to go back there again. Probably more importantly it taught me to give to my neighbour when I see the need is there.

    So, once again, EDUCATION on what is important in life. Quality food, clothing and family life.

    I too have been to Walmart, it is everything that is wrong with society today. People chosing materialistic junk over real things. Show me a person who has no TV, cable, gamebox, DVD player, cell phone, computer ect. If that is a family who has not wasted their money on materialisic choices is hungry, I want to help.

  23. Dee says:

    Great article, this also applies to why so many people go to Burger King, McDonalds, etc, as they get a “meal” cheap. They don’t have to prepare anything.

  24. scott c says:

    Great conversation…

    Mimi thanks for your post as these issues (the Food modernization, Food “Safety” act, monsanto, etc.) are important and ARE already happening. I’d like to see someone come and try to take my seeds though… :-)

    Unfortunately sometimes things DO change overnight and we may need to be prepared for that.

    There is plenty of food in the world, as I think most of you and most experts would agree… but the “system” is so broken. I remember last year millions of strawberries rotted on the fields because it was such a good year for produce.

    And of course this country needs a conscious eating enlightenment because people are so used to eating garbage…many probably still bought cheez-its at say $1.99 on sale as a snack than a quart of strawberries when they were $1-$2 dollars last year!

    Incidentally, cheez-its are one of my weaknesses, but I haven’t had them in a long time! So cheezy…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/20/us/20market.html (about food stamps at farmers markets)

    peace, love, and food

  25. Linda Honey says:

    Hi,
    Have been following your blog with great interest. We are organic farmers in Saskatchewan, Canada. We farm 10,000 acres. I like the idea of having homeless people come and help but most people don’t like the idea of living in so isolated or so verrrry cold a place – even colder than Wyoming! – . It is a culture shock to say the least. (The nearest Wal-Mart is almost 2 hours drive away! )
    We have lots of space, beautiful sunsets, fresh air. We have entertained the thought of having people come and join in the work – just don’t know how the reality would strike them. Would like to hear what others would think of this kind of a situation. Thanks.
    Keep up the good work, Kevin!

  26. Laura says:

    You are absolutely right on so many levels here. I have had these exact same thoughts on the balance of money/food/subsidies in this country. If only organic food were subsidized it would be so much more accessible to the masses. Think of the money saved on public health care services alone!
    Bur sadly, there are many folks who deliberately choose junk foods over vegetables because of the way we have been inundated with flavor enhancers like msg and who all knows what they put in that junk.

    I recently paid two young men to help me move some very heavy furniture. I spent the day with them and we stopped several times for them to buy Rockstars and Frappacinos to keep their energy up. The topic of food came up since I run a herb shop and one guy said to me “I don’t really like healthy food, it doesn’t have enough flavor”. The two boys then talked about how they wished we had an In and Out Burger in our area because the food there is “so good”. I explained to them about the flavor enhancers in food and told them that if they started eating real food they would come to appreciate and enjoy it. I don’t know if they believed me or not. So I think alot more people would choose healthy if they could afford it but I’m constantly amazed how much people will spend on junk food. Starbucks Frappacinos are expensive. People have been trained to want these foods by the big corporations like Kraft etc. I spend most of my time with healthy people and so talking to these boys reminded me about how a lot of folks think.

    Our best move is education and teaching directly and by example. Keep up the great work all of you healthy-minded people.

  27. Jeni says:

    Hi Kev

    The fact that refined sugar is in all junk foods, supermarket bread, tinned things, is more of the real reason of why people are addicted. Refined sugar is so addictive and the big corps know this.

    Junk food is so cheap as they use so many manufacturing aids as well as sweatshop wages to keep foods so cheap, plus the use of GM fructose.

    I have been on state benefits as it is hard to get a job that fits my current level of health. I dont have a garden but I managed to grow enough salad greens herbs and sprouted foods that I could get a good sandwich lunch 4-5 days a week.

    I looked in charity shops and dump sites or sales to get the right furniture to sit in a window.

    I am on the landshare site (UK version) under a search of ‘Jeni’. I took photos as I got results.

    I have been constantly overdrawn in the bank with an arrangment but I would not go back to junk foods EVER.

    People have to get sick first to learn lessons the hard way.

  28. [...] I was looking for answers to some of the questions I posed in my article from Tuesday (here.) [...]

  29. PE says:

    Gavin#1 had a fine vision, and we know it won’t be realized– because, as several have mentioned government serves its masters and they aint us. Pols are funded by giant corporations (call them corpses) and recent decisions by the Supremes (the Roberts Nine, not the singing group) let those nonpersons give as much as they like, directly now.
    Change is wonderful, in the right direction, and will come…but too slowly and too diffidently without a Great Shock.
    Not a negative shock– that’s covered by human incompetence and guided national actions; we need a positive, unforgettable shock to wake us out of this sleep of death and create a Humanity out of flounders and wish-fairies.
    And that Shock must occur soon; if not by early 2013 (best before), fagetaboudit. Do I have something in mind? Of course, and the struggles for democracy in the Muslim world are a prelude to it.
    But failing that expected shock, there’s a real possibility now being discussed of this species of great ape going extinct in 3 centuries. Stay attuned…

  30. Mary says:

    I could say so much……yet so much has been said! Take all the above suggestions and we are well on our way…………

    Have a very good day

  31. Westley says:

    A good solution to food prices is to buy in bulk. If it’s on sale, buy in bulk and either store it or freeze it. Next, buy when it’s on sale/ promotion. Even produce do go on sale, and when they do, it’s best to buy them in bulk and either flash-freeze them to retain freshness or can them. Another method would be to budget. Although processed foods are cheap (think McDonald’s dollar menu), in the long run, we pay more for our health problems. So, budget well to buy fresh foods (even if it’s non-organic) and opt in for more variety of nuts, seeds, grains, and other raw foods.

  32. Jo says:

    I’m glad to hear that the issue of subsidies and the plight of the American food industry is being discussed. I live in the Sandhills region of Nebraska and the only farm crops that are suited to our climate and soils is alfalfa, corn and soybeans. The average family owned and operated cattle ranch here is somewhere between 4,000 to 24,000 acres and in a bordering county the average cattle ranch is 35,000 acres. The family ranchers are not subsidized! When cattle prices are low, the cow/calf production costs exceed the retail value. It is the only occupation in the U.S. where the rancher buys at retail, sells at wholesale and pays the fright both ways. Calving out 400 to 3,000 head of cows/heifers is tough physical work. The cows usually drop during a snow storm (low barometer) and someone has to stay up all night in case a cow has problems giving birth. A calf lost affects the family budget for an entire year. No corporation will enter or dominate the cow/calf business because it’s labor intensive and the profit margins aren’t there to support CEO salaries. The calves come off the ranch grassland at 650 lbs. healthy and happy critters. Then they go to the feedlot and that’s where they live out their lives in unhealthy conditions, on contaminated soil, and are exposed to diseases. This is where the implants and antibiotics are administered. Although some feedlots are owned and operated by corporate intersts, they are the minority. Feedlots are not subsidized. Chickens and hogs are produced in total confinement and those facilities are owned and operated by corporations, however they are not subsidized. Subsidies go to the grain farmer and the larger the farm, the more subsidy they are entitled to. That’s why the family owned and operated small farms are a thing of the past. The corporate farms produce genetically altered corn and soy beans because it eliminates the need for pesticides and that’s a cost savings. My last comment is that the growing season in the northern states is too short and the soils aren’t rich enough to produce the healthy fruits and vegetables that we in Nebraska pay twice or three times what Californians pay. Many of those wonderful vegies and fruits many of you enjoy in your green smoothies, we’ve never been able to get here at any price, and we are not able to raise them in this climate. To add another perspective: I live an hour from McDonalds and 3 hours from a Walmart. The nearest health food store is a 3 hour drive. My doctor, dentist, chiropractor and the hospital is a 50 mile drive but we have 3 Veternarians in our county and the nearest livestock auction is only 17 miles. In the county boarding ours to the west there are 15 head of cattle for every person. In this part of the world cows are king and they are healthy and happy. One more tidbit: the cattle producers here do their own finishing and butchering of the beef that goes on their table. They never buy beef from a retail outlet. To us it tastes terrible!

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