I was considering the idea that Americans as a rule, love to spend big money on things like coffee and alcohol, but in general food is viewed as too expensive. This is a crazy perspective. Are we truly willing to pay nearly $5 for a cup of coffee with no nutritional value yet balk at paying $5 for 3 apples? How about when we go shopping, do we run to the aisle with the hamburger helper at $1.99 a box or do we go buy all the ingredients to make a pasta dish from scratch?
I often hear that food is so expensive, yet we pay over $4 for gas and no one complains anymore. Are we more concerned about the cost of food because it is vital to our very being? Or are we so used to cheap industrial food, that food with a genuine cost to it shocks us silly? I think it is a combination of both. Had we never industrialized the food system, we would have been paying a genuine price for the last half a century. We would expect a handful of carrots to cost $5 and a bag of Doritos to cost $15. No really, junk food should be charged according to it’s health benefit. If Doritos cost me $15 a bag, I would probably only buy them once a month as a treat instead of once a day or every other day. If soda cost $3 a serving, and I mean an 8oz serving, would it likely not be in every kid’s daily diet? Would we balk at the cost of a gallon of milk if soda cost that much? Probably not. Nor would we be facing an obesity epidemic.
Taking it even further, maybe each one of us every meal should stop and think about the ingredients in our food. From the lettuce that was trucked up from Mexico, hey yeah Mexico. You know the place where all the illegal immigrants keep sneaking across our boarder to steal our jobs. Oh you know those jobs picking fruit for pennies per pound. The jobs that we so desperately seek are being stolen by those dirty immigrants. (Please take a moment to recognize satire here.) Yeah those same dirty immigrants that grew your lettuce back home in Mexico. The lettuce that should have come from a farmer close to you. One that would participate in your economy. Not some dirty foreigner that will just keep your money in his country. See how absurd our food system is. We expect cheap food, which perpetuates the immigration problems, which perpetuate the economic downfall, which increases cheap food. Oh the vicious circle. Can we ever escape? Can we ever look at food with satisfaction and not fear again? Of course you can. You just need to not only respect your body, but your community and the local people that grow food for you. Buck up and pay a bit more for fresh, and I mean fresh produce, poultry, meat and dairy. Find a farm you can get fresh eggs from. How about a dairy where you can buy fresh milk from. Sure I still want imported cheese and wine, but I am willing to make that a treat. That is something I splurge on.
Keeping on a budget is not as hard as most people think when it comes to food. By focusing on what is in season, and what is local, you can get better deals and your body actually craves things that are in season. In the winter I love root veggies and squash along with some lentils and mushrooms and not to be left out greens. In the spring I go nuts for asparagus and fresh peas. Oh and the baby spinach. Summertime is for the fresh berries and fruits along with bruschetta. Oh my, my mouth is watering. Just thinking about the foods that we can cycle. I love July in Seattle. I can ride my bike around and find trucks camped out along the way selling fresh cherries and peaches. Oh the joy of the first peach on the summer is quite extraordinary.
Again I ask, can you evolve your mind to walk past the cheap food and move onto real food. Securing your own community economy, saving fossil fuel and the land are just a few of the benefits. The number one benefit is that your health may just well improve.