"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > Health, Nutrition and Special Diets
Click Here to Login
Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-12-2008, 02:16 AM   #41
Executive Chef
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 3,619
This is such a complex topic for discussion with so many variables and potential for misunderstanding. There are so many valid points that have been made so I'll add my $.02 also.

There are many other costs in meal preparation besides the cost of the food itself. At a minimum, a stove of some sort and a fridge of some sort, cooking utensils, running water for prep and clean-up, gas or electricity for the stove and fridge, plus transportation to a grocery store. Believe me, there are many, many people who don't always have access to those basic things reliably.

Others have mentioned that working is an issue too. Many people here in San Antonio work a full 8 or 9 hour day plus another 1-3 hours in transit via public transportation. Then they must tend to household chores and attention to children and homework and laundry, just like everyone else. If you happen to be a single parent, there is no one else to take up any of the slack. Something's gotta give and often, it's home cooked meals.

Another thing to look at is that poor parents love their children as much as any other parents. They want to make them happy and do special things for them, too. But often, things like going out to a movie or a special toy or a new outfit are out of reach financially. But a 99 cent burger or fries isn't. Long term, of course, it contributes to obesity and poor health, but it's understandable that fast food can become a symbol of love for poor parents.

I'm not disagreeing with anyone here - I just wanted to bring up some further issues I think are relevant to the topic. I think this is a great discussion and with the direction the economy is going in the US right now, it's very timely.
Fisher's Mom is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 05:57 AM   #42
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Galena, IL
Posts: 7,970
No matter how you look at it, I can buy ramen noodles for as little as a dime, sometimes a nickel, a package. Zilch nutrition, just calories. Yes, of course a poor family can be healthily fed, but it takes a little more work, knowledge, research. Heaven knows my mom raised four healthy, strapping gals on a sergeant's pay, so I learned from the master. But look at the price of fresh produce in the middle of the winter in a 4-seasons climate. You can't do it for a dime for a meal for one. And don't forget; unlike Mom, many people are single parents who are not home for 50 or so hours a week. It is more expensive to live healthy; very worth it, but not cheap.
Claire is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 06:00 AM   #43
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Galena, IL
Posts: 7,970
P.S. When I was young and broke (thank heaven I had the wisdom to not have children by my first husband!) I would buy a pound of chicken livers for $.99 and a head of cabbage for less. I could live on that for the better part of the week, with the bonus of feeding my cat!
Claire is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 07:54 AM   #44
Executive Chef
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 4,630
Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
Sure soda might be cheaper than milk, but water is cheaper than soda so there is not reason you HAVE to buy soda if you want to save money.
Add a couple tea bags and you have iced tea.
Jeekinz is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 09:06 AM   #45
Master Chef
 
jabbur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Newport News, VA
Posts: 5,638
Fisher's Mom brought up some valid points. In my city, the poorest part of town has no grocery store, only convience stores. The city has tried to get a major chain store to open in the area by offering incentives without success. Most of the people that live there rely on public transportation and it can take them 30-45 mins on a bus to get to the closest grocery store then they have to carry the food back home on the bus which may limit what they buy. Sometimes they may take a taxi to the store to get more than they can carry but the cost will cut into what they can spend on food.
__________________
I could give up chocolate but I'm no quitter!
jabbur is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 09:17 AM   #46
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Culpeper, VA
Posts: 5,803
The very idea that "poor people can't afford healthy food" has to be one of the most inaccurate things I've every heard. What a crock!! (Oh, & hot dogs definitely do NOT cost less than chicken, nor do cookies cost less than fruit, etc., etc. That's just plain unsupported nonsense.)

"Poor" (whether jobless, on a fixed income, etc., etc.) people have the same options as everyone else as far as healthy eating. Keys being education as to what's healthy, not being so lazy that all one wants to do is defrost & eat, & most important of all, WANTING to eat healthy.

What pisses me off is that all the "helpful" people in our immediate area aren't really all that helpful. Our local food pantry actually advertises what they want to "showcase" as "needs for the week" as far as donations. These "needs" are always things like "Hamburger Helper", boxed Mac & Cheese, etc., etc. They don't accept any "fresh" food, which sure as heck isn't really helping anyone besides filling their tummies with sodium/fat-rich garbage. We make regular food donations - but never any of that stuff, regardless of what they request. I always bring rice, bagged dried beans, whole-wheat pasta & egg noodles, low-sodium jarred & canned pasta sauces, canned tuna, dried herbs/spices - whatever non-fresh items I can find that are suitable to make a good meal that's as non-processed as possible. Frankly, without even touching fresh produce & meats, I can fill a shopping cart full of relatively healthy eating that will make a number of different meals for around $50. One just has to take the time to THINK about the possibilities.

So don't tell me "poor" (which is a very relative term in itself) people can't afford healthy food.
BreezyCooking is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 09:26 AM   #47
Everymom
 
Alix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 23,265
Breezy, your opinion is your own, but it isn't a "crock" that folks can't afford healthier food.

Again, I'm going to reiterate that if you don't KNOW what you are consuming is unhealthy, why would you change anything? Education is key.

Fishers Mom, you are so right about so many things. Folks who don't have much have different challenges and not having all the essentials for meal prep are just a few. I would also add transportation issues and perhaps challenges with managing their money and budgeting. If you can't afford a car you may have to be on a bus for a very long time with your piles of groceries. Just easier to feed the kids at the corner McD's. Their tummies are filled...fast.

I'm not saying poor people are dumb, what I am saying is that often those who don't have money have organic reasons that they have difficulty managing money and planning ahead. FASD, drug use, persistent physical abuse...all these things contribute to brain damage.

OK, sorry, took that slightly off topic, but I'm just trying to clarify my point.
FM, loved your post. Very clear and concise reasoning.
__________________
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
Alix
Alix is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 09:41 AM   #48
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Culpeper, VA
Posts: 5,803
Alix - I was addressing the original point/topic heading that "poor people can't afford healthy food", as in monetarily. Which is incorrect - aka crock. It's not that they can't afford it monetarily, it's just, as you & others have stated, due to other aspects of their lives - education, desire, etc. - they choose not to. Not necessarily because they can't do it on their budgets. If other issues could be resolved, I most decidedly believe that they can do it. Their choice &/or community services' choice to help teach them.

As far as groceries on a bus - a couple of chickens or packages of ground turkey & some fresh vegetables can easily take up the exact same amount of weight/space as processed zero-nutrient food. Again - the education/desire-to-eat-healthy card in play (or not).
BreezyCooking is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 09:52 AM   #49
Everymom
 
Alix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 23,265
Quote:
Poorer people (in the US) are overweight because the cheaper foods they can afford are all unhealthy?
I guess its all in the interpretation of this statement isn't it? I can see your point. I think everyone here can relate to shopping healthy on a budget. We even have specific fora dedicated to that very subject. However, I think many folks are addressing WHY poorer people buy unhealthy/cheap food. I think that is a very logical progression. I'd bet that many of the folks in the category we are talking about don't know Discuss Cooking exists because they can't afford a computer or internet access. Its easy to make statements from this side of the fence if you haven't walked on the other side. I'm going to reiterate my first post. The cheap alternative was extremely unhealthy, but filling and large. The healthy choices to feed us cost roughly 3-4x as much.

As for shopping and carrying stuff on a bus. I've done it, and I've done it with little kids in tow. Its not impossible, but it sure aint easy. I'm thankful I didn't have to do it on a regular basis because I can tell you right now I WOULDN'T. I could juggle a diaper bag, a baby, and 4 bags of groceries and manage a 3rd floor walk up, but it wasn't fun and I can see being exhausted enough every day to just stop for a quick fast food meal. When you weigh tired against most anything else tired usually wins.
__________________
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
Alix
Alix is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 09:54 AM   #50
Executive Chef
 
Dina's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Mission, Texas
Posts: 2,686
Send a message via Yahoo to Dina
I think that even people who can afford the healthier stuff as well as upscale restaurants are still overweight. It all boils down to HOW MUCH you put into your mouth and HOW MUCH you move your body.
__________________
Dina
If you have much, give of your wealth. If you have little, give of your heart. - Arab proverb
Dina is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 10:27 AM   #51
Chef Extraordinaire
 
kitchenelf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 19,725
Send a message via MSN to kitchenelf
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dina View Post
I think that even people who can afford the healthier stuff as well as upscale restaurants are still overweight. It all boils down to HOW MUCH you put into your mouth and HOW MUCH you move your body.
Your point is valid...I don't think we're talking about losing weight here though.

I will have to agree with a lot of what was said after me. Alix, I completely agree with everything you have said and can see how I had the totally wrong socio-economic group in my head. Not everyone has working refrigerators, working stoves, working ovens, a car, etc., etc. I'm pretty embarrassed that I didn't see the bigger picture, actually.
__________________
kitchenelf

"Count yourself...you ain't so many" - quote from Buck's Daddy
kitchenelf is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 10:35 AM   #52
Executive Chef
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Raton,NM, USA
Posts: 4,572
Having money or not doesn't change what your taste buds like. I'm not a small person but I have a friend who is a big girl she drinks a ton of soda when she came to visit for three days she brought three cases of soda that is a lot of calories for nothing. I had her try my iced green tea with mango 0 calories I love this tea it's very flavorful at least to me, she on the other hand didn't like it one bit and thought it was bland tasting.
She doesn't know how to cook and favors Mc Donalds and yet she is completely aware it's not good for her. She doesn't even know her measurements for cooking. I gave her a book Betty Crockers Fix it Fast this book uses maybe 5-6 ingredients alot of it already cooked such as frozen vegetables and just buying a rotisserie chicken or some meat etc the directions are so simple.
So it seems having money or not if you never ate healthy before or don't know how to cook you are doomed. When I was a kid soda was a once a week treat we didn't even have Kool Aid but man did I crave the stuff. No sweet cereals no chips, cookies etc. We were really poor so if I wanted something sweet I had to make it my self like pound cake or oatmeal cookies. We had oatmeal or Cream of Wheat with canned peaches or apple sauce. Being German my mother had a good handle on what was healthy, of course I thought it sucked cuz I knew all my friends ate Captain Crunch on saturday cartoon morning and I didn't
I think another thing is a lot of people just don't want to listen to kids screaming for a Happy Meal, pizza etc else instead of having a good square meal with vegetables etc. I belive a lot of parent now a days also give their kids too many choices by asking them what they want to eat, most will naturally choose garbage. When I was a kid nobody asked me what I wanted to eat I ate what was put in front of me or I didn't eat. "tough luck" she used to say.
__________________
"It's so beautifully arranged on the plate - you know someone's fingers have been all over it." - Julia Child
jpmcgrew is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 12:06 PM   #53
Chief Eating Officer
 
GB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: USA,Massachusetts
Posts: 25,518
When I was a kid jpmcgrew, we had soda only when guests came over or occasionally when we went out to eat which was not very often. At home we had water or orange juice. We almost never had cookies or sugary sweets in the house. The only time was when we had a babysitter and my parents would buy things like that for the sitter.
Fast food was a treat we got maybe 4 times a year.

My daughter is one of two kids in her entire school who has never had McDonalds. We see no reason to introduce it to her. We know that we can not keep her from it forever, but she enjoys healthy food right now and that is what we will continue to encourage.

As others have said, it is my opinion that healthy eating can be accomplished for folks who do not have a lot of money. It may not always be easy and it may not happen ever day, but McDonalds every day does not have to be the answer.
__________________
You know you can't resist clicking
this link. Your eyes will thank you. VISUAL BLISS
GB is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 01:53 PM   #54
Head Chef
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,325
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodweed of the North View Post
I have read every post in this thread. I must say, that in my opinion, every post has valid points. My take from this, including my own post, is that there are good, healthy foods that are inexpensive. And there are a host of bad foods that are inexpensive also. Likewise, there are good and bad foods that are expensive. I believe that we all can agree that there are a host of factors that create obesity, including, but by no means limited to, genetics, eating what we grew up with (cultural infuences), lack of education concerning nutrition, &/or cooking skills, time constraints, desire to do work, laziness, and don't forget things like emotional cues, the desire to treat oneself, or eat everything on the plate at that restaurant that serves overly large portions (I paid for it and by golly I'm gonna eat it!), availablilty of wholesome foods, etc.

The original question was, does the cost of quality food create obesity in poor people. I would say that it contributes, but qualify that with the observation and knowledge that all good foods are not expensive. But to utilize that good and inexpensive food requires effort, education, and time, not to mention desire to improve. There are those, who if given the education, time, and availability, would improve their eating habits. There are those who won't. In all societies, there are a host of people of every disposition. And often enough, we are our own worst enemies. I used to laugh at the idea of eating all whole grains, and staying away from highly processed and starchy foods, with little nutritional value. Did I do it because I was lazy? No. I wasn't used to eating a healthier diet. Though the diet I lived on while growing up was fairly sound, with lots almost exclusively home cooked meals, I saw nothing wrong with fast food, junk food in moderation (not as moderate as now), and eating as much as I could eat. I was skinny, full of energy, couldn't gain a pound to save my life, and in exceptionally good shape. I was also uneducated about good nutrition and was just learning how to cook.

I would never have given my family bad food intentionally. I loved them far too much. Over the past thirty years, I have grown heavier, and developed diabetes when I hit forty years of age. I guess that's when my nutritional education really started. Before then, I didn't think I needed to know more about food other than how to make it taste great. I know how to make the most deliscious, unhealthy food you can imagine. And once in a great while, I'll still make an ultra-rich desert, or eat a fatty chunk of grilled steak. But those times are the exception now, rather than the rule.

There are no pat answers. There are too many reasons that people gain weight, including medical conditions. Arguing about such a subject is foolishness. After all, the "experts" have been arguing about nutriton as long as I've been alive, and longer. And they still don't have all of the answers.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Well put. I haven't finished reading this thread yet, but here is my .02.
Some comments state buying meat, fruit, fresh veggies sensibly and cheaper. But no one has mentioned the high price of the spices and oils that is needed to make a good meal. The price of the ever precious EVOO is ridiculous. So, yes it is cheaper to buy prepackaged meals, let alone takes less time. I could go on, but will stop here.
PattY1 is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 02:14 PM   #55
Chief Eating Officer
 
GB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: USA,Massachusetts
Posts: 25,518
Quote:
Originally Posted by PattY1 View Post
Well put. I haven't finished reading this thread yet, but here is my .02.
Some comments state buying meat, fruit, fresh veggies sensibly and cheaper. But no one has mentioned the high price of the spices and oils that is needed to make a good meal. The price of the ever precious EVOO is ridiculous. So, yes it is cheaper to buy prepackaged meals, let alone takes less time. I could go on, but will stop here.
EVOO and spices are not requirements for cooking though. You can cook just fine with much less expensive oils or fats and spices as simple as salt and pepper.
__________________
You know you can't resist clicking
this link. Your eyes will thank you. VISUAL BLISS
GB is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 03:30 PM   #56
Everymom
 
Alix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 23,265
This brings us around once again to the education factor.

Has anyone watched the Supernanny episode where the single dad had two young boys? He was TRYING to cook healthy, but had no clue what was going on. His older son was skinny but had some astronomically high cholesterol reading (we measure it differently here, but I think the number was 180 or 280 or something) for a 50 year old and he was only 11. The younger boy was heavy and wanted only crap food.

This dad had a limited budget, but didn't KNOW what to do. They went out to a U Pick place and got to pick their own veggies and fruit and the kids were tickled to try that stuff once they were a part of it. With some help, Dad was able to plan simple healthy meals and stock their pantry with healthier options.

These weren't the poorest folks, but $ was limited. They simply didn't KNOW what to do.

And no argument that there are folks out there with both money and education who still make poor choices. Heck, which one of us doesn't eat a doughnut now and again? Some of us do it for other reasons, some folks are empty emotionally and fill with food. But lets not go there.

Still, when you think you are doing right by your kids by feeding them chicken nuggets (meat), fries (potato), and a milkshake (dairy) its because you don't have all the info.

And I agree, you can eat healthy on a limited budget, but it isn't easy.
__________________
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
Alix
Alix is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 03:56 PM   #57
Executive Chef
 
VeraBlue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northern NJ
Posts: 3,683
The wording is a bit harsh, but I believe it's not too inaccurate a statement. People with lower incomes will have a harder time presenting a balanced, nutritious meal when vegetables, fish, chicken, beef, bread, eggs, milk, fruit, cheese have seen price increases of over 17% in the past year. If a family of 4 only has a $15 dollar dinner budget, it's a lot easire to hit the dollar menu at McDonalds than it is to prepare a meal hitting all the food groups.
$15 a dinner is $130 a week...and that's just dinner. They still need breakfast and lunch, personal items like tampons, toothpaste, household items like detergent and toilet paper... and before you know it, the food shopping bill can exceed $250 each week.
Unfortunately, I know that many people in the food service industry, working 8 hour days barely bring home more than $400 a week. That doesn't leave a lot for rent/mortgage, utilities, clothing, medical expenses.

A dinner deal is 2 pizzas and a 2-litre coke for $14.99. How can you pass that up? You can get 8 burgers, a couple of fries and some nuggets for $15. Apples cost $2.49 a pound, and you may get 4, but probably 3. A bag of Dorritos on sale is also $2.49, you get less....but most kids want that more.

It's unfortunate, but I believe that financial status plays an important role in weight.

You don't see too many overweight rich kids... They come home from school and participate in sports programs and other activities. All those activities cost money. Kids from struggling families don't have that kind of disposable income, and many schools eliminate or curb physical fitness due to budget cuts.
__________________
How can we sleep while our beds are burning???
VeraBlue is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 03:59 PM   #58
Everymom
 
Alix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 23,265
Vera, that is a much more accurate picture of what I was trying to say. Thanks.
__________________
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
Alix
Alix is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 04:08 PM   #59
Sous Chef
 
GhettoRacingKid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 943
Vera,

I agree with you on that but alot of school have the sports and other after school activities for no cost since its in the school budget.

I think alot of it has to do with the fact that there are alot fo 2 income house holds which doesnt allow much time for the kids to be pickedu p from practice or most importantly a ncie heathly well balance meal to be prepared.

after working 8 hours plus commuting time not many parents want to put all the effort into making a meal when they have other faster easier and in their minds cheaper solutions.
__________________
Genius is sparked by other peoples ideas.
GhettoRacingKid is offline  
Old 09-12-2008, 04:23 PM   #60
Everymom
 
Alix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 23,265
GRK, you are right on many counts but lets remember that we are supposed to be talking about families where there is likely only one income and not a very large one either. Time and energy are definite factors.
__________________
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
Alix
Alix is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:01 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.