Author Topic: Making Good Food Affordable  (Read 8994 times)

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Offline Eric

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Making Good Food Affordable
« on: July 29, 2014, 04:38:14 am »
I give talks locally about eating higher quality food (I lead my local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation), and often have people complain that eating well is for rich people because of how expensive the food is per pound. In response to this I've been doing some calculations, and just posted a short (~700 words) essay on my blog about Making Good Food Affordable. The crux of my argument revolves around the fact that people think in terms of $ per pound, but what matters is $ per calorie (or per 100 kilocalories, which is the unit I use in my blog post). Thoughts on this?

I think I'm going to do a similar analysis of $ spent per unit of vitamins and minerals for some of these foods too. Hope to have this post up by the weekend.
Eric Garza
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Offline RogueFarmer

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2014, 03:52:04 pm »
Bee pollen seems expensive per pound but nutritionally seems very reasonable. It is especially appealing to me because it is a carbohydrate source with equal amounts of protein. Spirulina is dirt cheap when you compare the vitamins in it compared to vitamins in store bought vegetables. Actually nutritionally speaking I think most green vegetables in the store are almost a waste of money, they are expensive and fresh doesn't usually mean much. Farmers say if you drop an ear of corn from field to fridge it isn't fresh anymore. Most greens are picked in the morning but would be much better picked at the end of the day, especially in hot nights, as the sugar or brix lowers during the night considerably, lowering the bioavailability of all the nutrients, lowering the protein digestibility and increasing the nitrogen levels. Plants picked during long periods of overcast may be holding toxic levels of nitrogen and be almost devoid of digestible protein and sugars. The less fresh the plant is the worse off all the nutrition is and the more chance for toxic levels of nitrogen buildup.

I say, why pay for vegetables when weeds are far cheaper, far more nutritious, far fresher and in the convenience of your own back yard. I tell people, why would I buy vegetables or plant a garden when god planted a delicious garden for me already?

On the east coast, the large stew clams are very reasonable and to me the most delicious thing on the planet, much better than the flavorless small ones.

Offline eveheart

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2014, 11:32:01 pm »
Good approach, Eric. I also think of food costs in terms of price per day (which is closely related to price per calorie - without the math) and is based on the fact that one eats a fairly consistent quantity of food each day.

It's also worth mentioning that many people eat too-large servings of higher-priced protein foods.

Finally, sometimes a family can re-allocate funds from elsewhere in an overall strategy to eat well. Here, a typical family in my area in my area might spend $300 - $400+ per month on cellphones, internet, and cable television. Or hundreds of dollars on credit card interest. Or top dollar for automobile payments. These so-called necessities can be pared down in the interest of health and delicious foods.
"I intend to live forever; so far, so good." -Steven Wright, comedian

Offline Eric

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2014, 07:22:10 pm »
For many families I think it's all about priorities. If people want to shave spending on less important areas (cable, cell phones, etc.) and invest that money in better food, they certainly can. But will they? That's the big question. And perhaps a bigger question is: What happens to the health of populations when they systematically refuse to prioritize healthy food over other trappings of consumer society?
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Offline eveheart

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2014, 10:39:24 pm »
And perhaps a bigger question is: What happens to the health of populations when they systematically refuse to prioritize healthy food over other trappings of consumer society?

Individuals' refusal to prioritize healthy food over other expenditures is only part of the modern-disease picture. I think the bigger part is the authorities' (government, agribusiness, big pharma) direct and implied support and approval of unhealthy food. At least in the US, there is complete approval of questionable health practices. The way we welcomed high-fructose corn syrup and fluoride in the municipal water supply. Other examples abound: tofu-instead-of-meat, pasteurization of dairy, ultra-low fat diets, vitamin/mineral RDAs.

This may seem to be off your original premise, but the "official view" drives availability and pricing of what I would call healthy food.
"I intend to live forever; so far, so good." -Steven Wright, comedian

Offline Eric

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2014, 03:06:45 am »
Perhaps of interest, I just posted the first in a series of blog entries that will look at the cost effectiveness of getting a range of nutrients from different foods. This first post is titled Investing in Nutrient Dense Foods: Vitamin A. Feel free to give it a read, and I'll post future entires in this series to this thread as I finish them.
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Offline Eric

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Re: Investing in Nutrient Dense Foods
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2014, 09:35:06 pm »
Just posted second in a series on Investing in Nutrient Dense Foods: Vitamin D. Feedback is welcome.
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Offline Eric

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2014, 08:48:09 pm »
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Offline Eric

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2014, 01:38:09 am »
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Offline Eric

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2014, 09:02:12 pm »
Just posted Investing in Nutrient Dense Foods: Calcium. Found some interesting links between foods' oxalic acid content and low calcium bioavailability, as well as prebiotic resistant starches capacity to increase calcium bioavailability.
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Offline aLptHW4k4y

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2014, 12:14:51 am »
The USDA database strangely shows very little K2 in eggs (0.3mcg/100g), in contrast to the Souci-Fachmann-Kraut where eggs have 8.9mcg/100g on average (min. 1.9mcg, max 50mcg). Beef liver has 75mcg/100g. Maybe you should look at this database as well, to have a more balanced input.

Offline aLptHW4k4y

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2014, 12:31:33 am »
Ok I figured the reason for the discrepancy: USDA only contains numbers on Phylloquinone (K1) and Dihydrophylloquinone (dK, something you don't want as it is derived during hydrogenation of fats and does not occur naturally). K2 is not in its database at all!

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2014, 08:31:20 pm »
Thanks Eric. Timely stuff, as indicated by this recent post at another forum:

Quote
What the feking hell is up with skyrocketing food prices?
08-07-2014, 08:00 PM #1 Warmbear
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread109712.html

Heya, I dont know if this is just local or world wide but food prices are getting outside of my ability to eat regularly. Meat has almost doubled in the last 2 weeks, dairy, veggies, fish, everything has gotten stupidly spendy. I am having a hard time as is and for the last week I have had to forgo meat entirely but for liver twice a week and eggs.

Otherwise I am living on bone broth based soups and stews and rice with home made lard rounding out the calories. I have 4 people to feed and frankly the stress is ruining my sleep.

What the fekking hell is going on? There was a sign at my butcher saying that for the immediate future they would not be able to supply bulk meat purchases with special prices as their costs were just too high and the supply limited.

I was just speaking with an older lady at the local grocers who was in tears, she has hardly eaten anything but cat food and tuna and bread for the last 2 weeks and she felt terrible. She had never heard of making bone broth and could not imagine eating organ meat which is weird but what can you do.

I noticed the cost of the crappy processed foods were the same as always, hell Coke was on sale right next to the dairy aisle. 2L for 99 cents. 2L of milk was 3.92.

Is this an anti whole foods conspiracy by the food companies?
I also try to think in terms of $/calorie and $/nutrient, rather than just $/lb, and I explained in another thread that the cost of a high quality local raw honey per calorie is actually much cheaper ($4/kcal, per Nutritiondata) than an example that was given of an allegedly cheaper food (top sirloin $10.30/kcal, per Nutritiondata). The honey was actually even cheaper by the pound ($8.90 vs. $10) as well, though less so. On a related note, according to anthropologists, honey (and bee larvae) provides the biggest calorie payoff per calories expended for humans in the wild, and thus is highly regarded.

Comparing cost/nutrient is more complicated, because different foods fill different niches in the diet (not just vitamin/mineral niches, but also by feeding different bacteria, for example), so a comparison of meat vs. honey, fruit, or veg is a matter of apples and oranges. They each fill a role. Plus, many nutrients don't even get counted (such as prebiotics) and many are not even understood by science. Cost/nutrient probably makes more sense when comparing different types of the same food (ex: 100% grassfed meat vs. CAFO meat) and also when trying to figure out how to fill various nutritional needs economically, such as your vitamin A example.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 08:46:55 pm by PaleoPhil »
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline Eric

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2014, 10:52:40 pm »
Thanks for the kind words Phil. Yeah, it's a bit more complicated than I'm making it out to be, but I wanted to get people thinking about how they spend their money and I've definitely done that.
Eric Garza
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Offline Eric

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2014, 06:56:06 pm »
Here's the most recent post: Investing in Nutrient Dense Foods: Magnesium.
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Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2014, 12:21:47 am »
Interesting that nuts and tubers were some of the most economical sources of Mg. The prebiotics ("nondigestible carbohydrates") in foods like these have also been found to improve Mg bioavailability, making the foods richer in them even more economical sources:

Nondigestible Carbohydrates and Mineral Bioavailability
http://jn.nutrition.org/content/129/7/1434S.full

The tiger nut (aka tigernut, chufa, etc.) is a nutty tuber that is also high in both Mg and prebiotics. Interestingly, its nutritional profile complements red meat well, as though the two were made to go together.
http://freetheanimal.com/2014/01/tigernuts-tuber-tubery.html
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline Eric

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2014, 08:14:59 pm »
Ok I figured the reason for the discrepancy: USDA only contains numbers on Phylloquinone (K1) and Dihydrophylloquinone (dK, something you don't want as it is derived during hydrogenation of fats and does not occur naturally). K2 is not in its database at all!

I just checked out their documentation, and K2 (menaquinone-4) is in their database and is lumped in as vitamin K along with phylloquinone and dihydrophylloquinone. Not sure where you got the idea it wasn't.
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Offline aLptHW4k4y

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2014, 07:33:44 pm »
The database itself (I fiddled with building some application on top of it) labels only K1 and dK, for eggs and liver at least (I didn't check for all foods obviously). There is no 'general vitamin K' label, sounds like the documentation is not in sync. So where is K2 lumped, K1 or dK?

Offline dwelz

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Re: Making Good Food Affordable
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2014, 11:34:48 am »
It's too bad that buying high quality food can be quite costly for many people in certain parts of the world, including the United States. For whether or not you are eating all organic, if any, even the cost of 'regular' food seems to have gone up at an alarming rate since our grandparents were kids, though especially over the past 50 years! (see the link below for further info) So, it can be financially difficult for people to eat the 'best' foods on a regular basis, yet regardless of a product's price, if it's fresh, tastes good, and makes you feel good, then perhaps it is 'good'? http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/food-prices-see-steepest-increase-since-1974.aspx#axzz3Fc2GmaA2

 

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