Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Food (Part 2 of 3) The High Cost Of Health Eating

vegetables Pictures, Images and Photos

I have nothing wrong with me. No aches, no pains, no fevers.

Although my blood pressure is a little high and I could stand to loose a few pounds. Or so my doctor tells me.

But it's hard to get motivated to make a major lifestyle change in the absence of any perceived incentive. For that I need a cattle prod. That's where a younger brother having a heart attack comes in handy. It tends to focus the mind the way an actual physical symptom does.

I've decided to change the way I eat lunch. I'm on the road quite a bit and lunch for me tends to be dropping into which ever restaurant happens to be closest. In case you haven't noticed, restaurant lunches these days are about the same size and caloric intake as the average banquet dinner. What's with this massive increase in portion sizes guys?

I found another incentive that lies close to the soul of my Scottish ancestors. If I take lunch, instead of eating out at expensive restaurants, I will save a fortune over the course of a year.

Driven by the push of my brother's experience and the pull of financial incentive, I find myself wandering the isles of my local supermarket in search of ingredients for a healthy lunch. There is an equation running through my head. Lunch costs about $10 a day and that is $50 a week and that equals $200 a month and that amounts to $2400 per year.

I am buying field greens and peppers and cucumber and tomatoes and apples and clementines and carrots and almonds. Not a lot of stuff really.

At the checkout the bill comes to $37. Thirty-seven dollars!

It would be even more if we didn't have other ingredients, like onions and celery, already in the fridge at home. If I'd had to buy everything from scratch I would hardly be saving any money at all.

How can this be?

Well, to begin with, according to a report released last month by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, there are "startling discrepancies" in the cost of basic, healthy food at grocery stores across Canada,

Some Canadians, depending on where they live, are paying between two and six times more money for the same grocery cart of healthy foods, the report found. The same study also found the price of unhealthy processed foods and snacks, such as pop, chips and cookies, were relatively stable across the country.

The cost of a package of whole-wheat pasta ranged from $2.00 in Barrie to $11.37 in Dawson, Yukon. A 520-gram package of cheddar cheese cost $14.61 in Thunder Bay and $6.49 in Regina. While in Ontario, the cost of six medium apples ranged from $0.90 in Peterborough to $5.49 in Dryden.

Many provincial governments legislate the price of alcohol, but there are no regulations to ensure access to healthy food.

So I've lost the pull part of my incentive. Fortunately the push part is still there.

I'm going to try making the soup Meghann recommend in the Comments section to yesterday's post.


What's the matter with Blogger's Word Verification system. I haven't been able to leave comments on most blogs with popup WV for two days now?

Image of fruits and vegetables from Photobucket.

Additional Information from the Toronto Star.