firebyrd: (Default)
While I think the word "privilege" gets thrown around too much, sometimes things just reek of it. A thread on /. devolved into basically calling people who don't eat healthy stupid and lazy. "Eating healthy is cheaper than fast food!" was declared over and over. Some people tried to bring up things such as the opportunity costs of cooking, but were mostly brushed off. What amazes me is that no one seemed to understand that it's not a dichotomy between eating healthy and eating fast food/expensive frozen dinners/pizza/etc. While eating healthy may be cheaper than eating fast food all the time, eating healthy /is/ more expensive than eating cheaply.

Apples are cheaper than many kinds of fresh fruit and veggies. One still costs $0.30-$0.50 each depending on the size. How many people will one apple feed compared to the $0.50 box of generic mac and cheese? How much does ramen cost compared to carrots? And so on and so forth. You have to look at all that before you even consider the opportunity cost of cooking. Throwing a pan of water on to boil and dumping a box of something in takes a lot less time and energy than chopping up vegetables and doing whatever it is that you're going to be doing with them. The variety of cheap frozen veggies is pretty slim, at least around here, consisting mostly of peas and corn, which aren't exactly the healthiest of veggies anyway. California mixes of cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots are usually more expensive. Anything other than those five things are either very expensive and/or inedible (seriously, even when used in cooking, frozen spinach is beyond disgusting, and I /like/ spinach!).

I've had this argument with people before, most notably with someone who lives in San Diego. The privilege just drips from someone like that. Let's see, you live in an area where much of the produce of the Western US, if not the whole country, is grown. You have farmers' markets year round. You don't have the cost of transportation added into the price of things, and you're trying to tell /me/ that eating fruits and vegetables is cheaper than anything else? Drives me crazy.

We're actually going to try joining a CSA this year and have my mom chop the stuff up for me so that I can hopefully use it, since the opportunity cost is as much if not more of an issue for me personally. Hopefully that's going to help us eat healthier at least. But for people who have even less money than us, that live in areas where there is little local stuff available other than in summer, or where there are even no grocery stores, just 7-11 type stuff...eating healthy is most certainly /not/ cheap nor is it is easy.

October 2012

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