Why Americans can’t afford to eat healthy
One guy commented:
Friday, July 15, 2011 07:56 AM ET
Boy, this article is stunningly ignorant on so many levels
And for the record, I think high fructose corn syrup is poison and should be banned.
...Big Macs are "cheap" because McDonalds is very popular and very busy, and people* love to eat there (*not upscale NY snobs, though). They have a HIGH VOLUME which means the food is relatively inexpensive. Go to a fancy gastropub or urban hipster restaurant (perhaps one designed to look like a 50s diner) and I ASSURE YOU the burger won't cost $1; more like $11.95. And many, many Americans could never afford to feed a family of four at a place like that.
I am not so sure Americans CANNOT afford to eat healthy so much as THEY DO NOT LIKE healthy foods -- as a culture, we hate vegetables. Even our vegetarians hate vegetables (they prefer stuff like soy ice cream and imitation hot dogs). And Americans despise cooking, and more so than that, they LOATHE cleaning up. And we work a lot of hours....
☞ ....and moms have not been welcome to be homemakers for two generations. There is nobody AT HOME TO COOK all this healthy food (let alone clean up afterwards!!!).
The logistical problems -- who is at home? who shops? who preps the food? who cooks it (and when)? who cleans up afterwards? -- are HUGE. This affects even the middle class, but the poor have even greater problems -- they may not have access to a working stove and refrigerator. They may have had the power shut off for lack of payment. They may not know how to cook; they may lack basic things like pots and pans.
Fast food is, above all else, FAST. It is hot. It smells good. You don't have to worry about spoilage (a real problem if your electricity is turned off!). After you eat, you throw some paper wrappers and bags away -- no dish washing. No leftovers to store.
A lot of women get home after work, exhausted -- and face a 2nd shift of child care, cleaning, laundry, BILLS -- and many with no help (40% of all kids raised in single parent households) and at 6:30PM, your kids (and your husband, if you have one) are cranky, hungry, irritable.
NOW, Mr. Rich Guy -- try real hard to imagine that scenario -- what would you rather do? run to the grocery store, spend $50 on fresh veggies and fruits, go back home, unpack it all, put it away, chop and peel stuff, cook some of it (while the kids and hubby are whining "we're hungry!") and serve it, and then they all run off to watch TV, leaving YOU to clean dishes and plates and cups, put stuff away in the fridge, store leftovers, etc.
Or would you rather pile everyone in the car, drive to McDonalds and quickly eat a hot, appetizing meal? Or bring home a pizza, to the kids raving and cheering (whereas the meal of healthy broccoli and chicken gets "do we have to EAT THAT crap? I hate veggies! wah! wah!")?
Our food choices (and mistakes) are not "accidents" nor are they the products of a "conspiracy" by big Agra. We aren't eating burgers and pizza because they forced us to, when we REALLY are dying for that plate of steamed edamame. THEY are giving us what WE ASK FOR; they are responding to what we ALREADY BUY.
To change this, means altering things in our culture that are not easy to change. In cultures where people all gather for wonderful, homecooked family meals -- women STAY HOME and are HOMEMAKERS. And the marriages that enable them to do so are supported by society.
Or come up with something new, that replaces the labor intensive work (that used to be all women's work) of shopping, prepping, cooking, serving...cleaning, storing and so on, that is REQUIRED before ANYONE gets to eat a "healthy meal."
It's easy to pontificate from on high, when this is not your reality. Do you, Mr. Rich Guy, do ANY of the things mentioned -- cook, prep, cook, serve, clean up? -- or does your wife? or your illegal Jamaican nanny? or your housekeeper?
Do you make fun of people for eating McDonalds -- but eat 60% of YOUR meals out, only at upscale restaurants? YOUR takeout Thai food is NOT superior -- nutritionally, calorically, etc. -- to someone else's Happy Meal. That's nothing but entitled class snobbery, disguised as do-goodism.
IRONIC NOTE: There's a farming town in Vermont that leads the nation in organic farming ~ but 100% of its production is shipped out of town because no one can afford to eat it.