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Dec 5, 2007 10:02 AM

Healthy food DOES cost more.......

In follow-up to a discussion this past spring about eatting organic and cost and what its like to have a low impact and try to eat healthy, from todays New York Times:

In essence, good healthy food DOES cost more.

there you go.

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  1. There you go ... NOT

    The NY Times is WRONG

    The American Dietetic Association is WRONG

    Adam Drewnowski, director of the center for public health nutrition at the University of Washington is WRONG

    I am RIGHT

    Conclusion - Eating like a Chowhound on $3 a day

    I didn't spend a month eating on a budget for some twits with flawed, skewed studies to say otherwise.

    Also reading all the comments at the end of the article by people who ACTUALLY eat healty on a budget is more the reality.

    I agree with one person who called it "Bad science or at least bad theory based on empirical data."

    They say if you do something a month it becomes a habit. So that month-long experiment has spilled over into my regular life. This morning was a breakfast of Quaker Oats (sale 18 oz canister 50 cents) with fresh pomegranite seeds (79 cents lb) and chopped fresh fuyu persimmon (2 lbs for $1).

    Lunch is African yellow lentil wot which I got 6 healthy servings out of for a total of about 50 cents a serving. I'm having it with a salad of iceburg (Foodco 39 cent head special this week), cucumbers (2 lbs 88 cents, Foodco), Radish (3 bunches $1), pomegranite seeds and chopped persimmon dressed with olive oil ($3.99 a bottle)

    Then there was that Fresh Diestel turkey I bought Sunday after Thanksgiving for 49 cents a pound ... even Thanksgiving week frozen turkeys at major markets could be had for about $10 bucks which would make lots of nice dinners and soup for very little money. Onions are currently 4lbs for $1. Oranges 3lbs for $1. Yams are 49 cents a pound.

    Even if I weren't keeping an eye out for bargains a very similar meal could be put together for very little money ... from Safeway ... 18oz Quaker Oats $2.99, box of raisins for $1.99. Lentils don't cost that much no matter where you buy them. I haven't checked out the sale priced fruits and veggies at the major markets this week, but there are always some.


    They do skewed, selective comparisons. SHAME ON THEM.

    Why aren't there studies on how to educate people how to eat well on little money rather than all the press that wrongly says it cant be done. SHAME ON THEM.

    10 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      "Why aren't there studies on how to educate people how to eat well on little money rather than all the press that wrongly says it cant be done. SHAME ON THEM."

      yup. you get no agreement from me. I've thought we needed to educate people about food and cooking since I used to go grocery shopping in Cleveland back in the early mid 80s and saw people on food stamps buying tons of unhealthy processed food instead of raw ingrediants.

      I know the study was done by UWA but I wonder who paid for it???

      1. re: rworange

        I think you're taking this the wrong way. I would say that the media is more to blame for being selective about what sort of studies they put on their newspaper and then interpreting it in their own special way than the researchers for not encouraging people to eat healthier. Researchers may feel they have personal moral obligations or have personal opinions, but typically one does not (or at least should not) perform a study to push a very specific agenda.

        The study simply states that they found in a regular supermarket the price per kcal of "healthy" food was more expensive than the price per kcal of packaged junk food. It was a study, not a brochure to support eating junk food to lose weight or a marketing tool for Oreos (Look, by eating our cookies you can fulfill your calorie requirement for a day with less money!).

        1. re: rworange

          rworange, the article is saying what I would guess you agree with: that junk food is cheaper than healthy food IN TERMS OF CALORIES (and addictive ingredients such as salt and fat). This is old news: junk food is calorie dense.

          The study doesn't refute your CH-reported experience--i.e., that you CAN eat healthy for little money.

          Now, if only you could send me some of that $0.49/lb turkey!

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Yes, I will concede that getting 1000 calories from cookies is less expensive than 1000 calories of lettuce.

            Junk food is cheap and it makes you fat.

            It took a study to determine that?

            How do I get a job like that? I'd like to do a study to find if it is less expensive to take a bus or drive a Jaguar.

            I guess it is some of the statements in that article projecting perceptions about poor people that could not possibly be in that study.

            Later on in the comments the writer says in response to us poor dense readers ...

            " think it’s important to understand why obesity seems to affect the poor disproportionately. As you see from many of the posts here, most readers believe that it doesn’t cost a lot of money to have a healthful diet. I think this data shows that money goes a lot farther when you spend it on junk than the good stuff. The solution that people live on lentils which are healthful and affordable is just ridiculous to me. Nobody wants to live like that. People want variety, they want food that tastes good and why should poor people be relegated to lentils when the rest of us can afford fresh fruits, vegetables and healthful foods?. "

            Which goes right back to my August experiment.

            1. re: rworange

              hmm. if nobody likes lentils, then how come every time i make lentil soup people are practically climbing into the pot so they can eat it faster? i personally can eat dal every. single. day. because i like it.

              1. re: rworange

                DH and I are on South Beach diet and buying lots of veg, proteins, whole grains, etc totaling up faster than when we were not necessarily UN healthy, but not AS healthy.

                That being said, he has lost 16 lbs and I have lost 10! So, it's worth it to us.

                One note - starting SB diet in the Winter in the Midwest is maybe not the best idea. The produce is kinda average, no farmer's markets and not as cheap. Looking forward to spring, summer!

                1. re: rworange

                  Sometimes research moves policy forward. Its not so much that it is demonstrating something new but that doing so provides policy makers with power to change something everybody already "knows".

              2. re: rworange

                Here's your chance, rec'd this call for proposals this morning.

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Ralph, Joseph R. (CDC/CCHP/NCCDPHP) (CTR) [mailto:cmq8@CDC.GOV]
                Sent: Monday, December 10, 2007 10:08 AM
                Subject: FW: RWJF Funding Alert: Healthy Eating Research Calls for Proposals Released

                RWJF Funding Alert: Healthy Eating Research Calls for Proposals Released

                The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has posted two separate calls for proposals (CFPs) in the Childhood Obesity program area.

                Healthy Eating Research is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The program supports research on environmental and policy strategies to promote healthy eating among children to prevent childhood obesity, especially among low-income and racial/ethnic populations at highest risk for obesity. Findings will advance the Foundation’s efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015.

                The CFPs described below focus on the following four targeted topic areas:

                1. Food pricing and economic approaches;

                2. Food and beverage marketing and promotion;

                3. Improving access to affordable healthy foods in low-income communities; and

                4. Evaluations of other promising food-related policy and environmental strategies.

                Healthy Eating Research Round 3

                Application Deadline: February 6, 2008 (3 p.m. ET)

                Approximately $3.5 million will be awarded for two types of research grants focused in the four areas listed above:

                Small- and large-scale studies:

                * 12- to 18-month awards up to $150,000 each.
                * 18- to 36-month awards up to $400,000 each.

                Macro-level analyses:

                * 12- to 18-month awards up to $100,000 each.

                Healthy Eating Research Special Solicitation Round 2

                Application Deadline: February 6, 2008 (3 p.m. ET)

                The Special Solicitation is a funding opportunity from RWJF for New Connections grants through the Healthy Eating Research program. New Connections grants are for junior investigators from historically disadvantaged and underrepresented communities who have completed their doctorate or terminal degree within the last seven years (after September 1, 2001). These grants are for individuals who are in the early stages of an independent research career.

                A total of up to three grants will be awarded. There are two categories of funding focused on the four areas listed above:

                Small-scale studies:

                * 12- to 24-month awards of up to $100,000.

                Macro-level analyses:

                * 12- to 24-month awards of up to $75,000.

                Visit the Healthy Eating Research Web site for more details about these CFPs and information on how to apply, at

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  love that it is coming from a foundation that shares rw's initials! :-)

                  1. re: susancinsf

                    Maybe some extra points could be awarded by the grant-readers? (vbg)

                    In posting that grant info, I didn't mean to be flippant to rw. It was directed at the chowhound community-at-large, knowing that we have some very talented people here who might be able to take advantage of the funding and put their chowhound values to work.

                    Here's a workshop opportunity from the Chez Panisse Foundation for elementary, middle school, and high school teachers.

                    ------ Forwarded Message
                    From: "Yvonne Savio" <>Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2007 15:33:53 -0800
                    To: <>
                    Subject: Changes: School Gardening Workshop, Chez Panisse Foundation,
                    2/4-6/07, Berkeley

                    School gardening workshop is February 4-6, 2007, in Berkeley.


                    Delicious Education: Garden, Kitchen, and Community as Classroom
                    A three day seminar to support teachers who want to embed experiential
                    instruction into the academic program, using the kitchen, garden, and
                    community as the contexts for learning.

                    Delicious Education: Garden, Kitchen, and Community as Classroom
                    February 4-6, 2008
                    8:30am-4:00pm each day
                    Fee: $300 (see application fees for partial scholarship info)
                    Faculty: Eleanor Dougherty, Marilyn Crawford, Carolie Sly, Wendy Johnson
                    Location: Center for Ecoliteracy 2528 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley,

                    The Chez Panisse Foundation and the Center for Ecoliteracy have designed a three-day seminar to support teachers who want to embed hands-on
                    instruction into the academic classroom, using the kitchen, garden, and community as the context for learning. The seminar is designed to help teachers balance the
                    tensions between teaching to standards and creating robust experiential learning opportunities for students.

                    The first day will be facilitated by the Center for Ecoliteracy with a focus on the links between food, health, culture, and the environment on both personal and classroom levels. Participants will explore and discuss core ecological principles, then investigate how the principles come to life in the classroom and community.

                    Second and third days will be led by the Chez Panisse Foundation and will expand the focus on classroom instruction, curriculum development and design. We will build on day one and lead participants through the process of designing hands-on lessons that take into account academic standards and experiential learning. Day two will include a site visit to the Edible Schoolyard at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.

                    The seminar is intended for classroom teachers at elementary, middle,
                    and high school levels. Academic, kitchen, and garden classroom teachers are
                    invited. Principals are welcome to attend with their teachers. We encourage
                    teachers to come in pairs or teams. Preference will be given to them in the
                    application process. Participants will be expected to complete assignments prior to the seminar.

                    We will only consider applicants who are able to attend the entire

                    What to Bring:
                    State Standards
                    Laptop Computer (if you have access to one)
                    Copies of Materials

                    Workshop Includes:
                    Breakfast and lunch each day
                    Copy of Delicious Education: Kitchen and Garden as Classroom
                    Copy of Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable

                    Apply for the delicious education workshop at
                    Email questions to

                    Kyle Cornforth
                    Program Associate
                    The Edible Schoolyard
                    Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School
                    510.558.1335 (p) 510.558.1334 (f

                    ------ Forwarded Message
                    From: "Yvonne Savio" <>
                    Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2007 11:34:21 -0800
                    To: <>
                    Subject: partial scholarships for Chez Panisse school gardening workshop

                    Hi, all-

                    I've just confirmed with the workshop people that partial scholarships
                    of up to $100 are available for the $300 fee. See the "fee" section on
                    the website.

                    Hopefully this will enable more of you to really consider joining us.

                    Ciao for now.

                    Yvonne Savio
                    Common Ground Garden Program Manager
                    University of California Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles County
                    PO Box 22255
                    4800 E. Cesar E. Chavez Avenue
                    Los Angeles CA 90022
                    Phone: 323-260-3407
                    Fax: 323-881-0067
                    Email: <>
                    Master Gardener Email Gardening helpline:
                    Master Gardener Phone Gardening helpline: 323-260-3238
                    Ciao for now.

              3. I think one main point that the NY Times article overlooked was access to healthy food. In many areas, healthy food is not easily accessible to lower income people.

                In my city, I've seen people walking 10 or 12 blocks with groceries. The downtown grocery stores also seem to stock lower quality products (for awhile people were finding expired meat for sale).

                Food stamp laws also vary by state. In my state,the last time I checked, people can't buy canned beans with food stamps, only dried and they have to buy store brand milk, not whatever brand they want.

                It also doesn't talk about how low income housing also may not have working kitchens.

                1. Since their study only measured the cost per kcal of food, I think people are taking the wrong message from this article (or the media is simply interpreting it in a way that is giving the wrong message).

                  However, I have to admit that the figure of 18 dollars for 1000 kcal of "nutritional" food to be somewhat suspicious. Surely if I ate 18 dollars worth of apples, or drank 18 dollars worth of 2% milk or ate 18 dollars worth of ground beef or ate 18 dollars worth of rice I would get more than 1000 kcal (i.e. 1000 standard nutritional calories).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Blueicus

                    The sad fact is that most reporters are about as science literate -- including their ability to interpret the results of statistical studies -- as the average American: not at all. So they draw mistaken conclusions from studies they don't understand, and then report them as "news."

                    Let's do some actual math using Blueicus examples, shall we?

                    Apples have about 15 calories per ounce. So to get 1000 calories you'd need 67 ounces of apples, or about four pounds. Even organic apples don't cost $4.50 a pound, so it's clear that you could get 1000 calories from apples for less than $18.

                    Two percent milk has 488 calories a quart, so you only need a half gallon (plus an apple ) to get 1000 calories. A half gallon of organic milk costs about $3.50. Cheap supermarket milk costs a lot less when you buy a gallon. Sure, it's more expensive than a half gallon (aka 2 liters) of Coke, but it's nowhere near $18 for 1000 calories.

                    85% lean ground beef has 60 calories an ounce (raw weight), so 1000 calories is a little over a pound. Even the fancy-pants grass-fed ground beef at my local butcher is only about $5.99 a pound.

                    The rice calcuation is too ridiculous to even bother with.

                    Sure junk food is cheaper per calorie -- this is not news. But to say it costs a lot more to eat nutritious food is just ridiculous. Furthermore, although a lot of poor people unfortunately live in areas not well served by supermarkets, a lot of them live in "ethnic" neighborhoods that have markets where the prices are a lot lower than Safeway. Have you checked out the produce prices in Chinatown or your local Mercado recently?

                  2. One of the comments in the NYT linked to this article which is a more extensive article on this subject and includes quotes from the research article. Based on this article - I think the example of the $18/1000 kcal is for wild salmon. I think perhaps the most interesting point in this Grist article is that it is easily possible to be thrifty and healthy, but that often these approaches take a larger time commitment - and time is something working families are often lacking.


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: LauraB

                      Some foods are expensive -- there's another news flash. But you can buy canned wild Alaskan salmon for $2-3 dollars for a 14 oz can.

                      I could just as easily say that junk food is expensive because the chocolate I bought today is over $20 for 1000 kcal. (nutritionally chocolate, even very expensive chocolate, is junk food).

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        It is?

                        (some things, one is better off not knowing)

                        but hey, the can of Pringles in my hotel mini-bar last week: unquestionably junk food, and unquestionably expensive.....:-)

                    2. Maybe this will help: WIC adds fruits, vegetables and whole grains to program.