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S/O(What made Americans fat) Marketing is a huge contributor?


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My grandma was told to use margarine instead of butter, and she just has kept using it. The stories keep changing. Too much emphasis on the one bad food.

 

I think a lot of people have lost real cooking skills. I do think you can make healthy meals in a half hour or less, from real ingredients. I think rush-rush leaves people feeling like that's too hard though. THeir perception may or may not match reality.

 

Yep. I read The Kitchen Counter Cooking School about a woman who decided to teach people how to cook after stopping a lady in the supermarket and explaining how to buy fresh food and cook it for less than a boxed mix or frozen meal, and I just finished The American Way of Eating, which was interesting as well.

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I think it's unclear about sugar though. You can read that there is sugar in something, but does anyone know how much is too much? And then we are told we can eat all the fruit we want, but what about all the sugar? Is that entirely negated by the fact it's fruit?

 

Like that overpriced Chobani yogurt. It has 7 grams of sugar in a little cup. If you go to their website they explain that they don't add sugar to it, but that it comes from the milk. Is 7 grams a lot for that amount? Am I supposed to believe that since the sugar comes from milk it's different from other sugar? Does it affect my body differently? Who knows. But hey, Chobani is fat free. I know that much.

From what I've read, it seems the lactose is somewhat used up by the bacterial cultures involved in yogurt making. I find the sugar in unsweetened full fat yogurt doesn't bother me like a glass of milk would. Obviously a YMMV, but the nutritional info is based on just the milk, which doesn't account for the fact that some of that lactose gets used up by the cultures.

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From what I've read, it seems the lactose is somewhat used up by the bacterial cultures involved in yogurt making. I find the sugar in unsweetened full fat yogurt doesn't bother me like a glass of milk would. Obviously a YMMV, but the nutritional info is based on just the milk, which doesn't account for the fact that some of that lactose gets used up by the cultures.

 

that's what I've found, also.

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I've struggled to be a healthy weight my whole life (10yo & up). I was pretty good until I had dc (30s). Staying home and having a dh that can eat anything and everything and stay slender is NOT helping me. I mostly stay away from what he eats (ice cream, cookies, etc.) but I love bread & pasta. It's the GOOD food that makes me fat; I don't drink soda, eat junk food sparely and try to control my portion size but I'm still overweight. I try to exercise 5x/wk but not always consistently.

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that's what I've found, also.

 

I am dairy intolerant, but it got worse when I went to lower fat. I was VERY happy to find that I can have a small bit of home cultured buttermilk, and Greek yogurt! I can easily eat a half cup of Fage with berries. Milk sends me to the bathroom quick.

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But do most people REALLY lack the time? I forget the stats how many hours people spend watching TV on average daily... clearly, time is not an issue for most people.

Just look at all of us wasting time on the internet... I should go bake something.

 

I think sometimes yes and sometimes no, but even with the "no"s, there is often a created lack of time.

 

A lot of families do lack time, particularly at the times when they would normally be involved in meal prep. Between work and lots of kids activities and school, a lot of families are not eating eating at the table, they are eating in the car on the way to hockey practice, or trying to get something on the table in the hour between getting home and putting the toddler to bed.

 

Households and individuals on average are working longer hours than they were in the past. Modern industrialized nations have among the least amount of leisure of any society - (hunter-gatherers have the most.)

 

I think what families are doing is especially important because that is where the kids are developing their eating habits.

 

But all that tv plays a part too. Those activities like tv, internet, or video games tend to suck people into them. It's hard to wake up your brain enough to tear yourself away.

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I just don't think it is all about marketing and public knowlege.

 

Everyone knows fresh fruit and veggies are better for you. Everyone knows shopping the perimeter is healthier but it is also more expensive.

 

People need to not just be informed but be able to afford healthier food. I will go to Costco and drop $100 on produce alone. I am not sure that is something everyone can afford to do.

 

The other problem for the poor is they often don't have access to a supermarket. If you are buying your food at a convenience store options are really limited.

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I think it's unclear about sugar though. You can read that there is sugar in something, but does anyone know how much is too much? And then we are told we can eat all the fruit we want, but what about all the sugar? Is that entirely negated by the fact it's fruit?

 

I think if you are eating the whole fruit, you would probably be full before you really overindulged. Or you'd get the trots and never do it again.

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The other problem for the poor is they often don't have access to a supermarket. If you are buying your food at a convenience store options are really limited.

Yep, and search for articles that get into food prices at bodegas. An apple will cost 2-4x what a bag of chips costs, if you can find an apple, and it isn't already nasty.

 

Even basics like flour and sugar are marked up in many bodegas, from what I understand.

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/04/the-healthy-bodegas-initiative-bringing-good-food-to-the-desert/255061/

 

http://www.thenewjournalatyale.com/2011/04/a-trip-to-the-corner-store/

 

from the link above:

This means that some staple grocery items are marked up steeply. A pound of Domino granulated sugar costs $4.49 at George Street Deli. By comparison, that same product costs $1.45 at Stop & Shop in Hamden.

 

Not that sugar is healthy, but just demonstrating how even basic "cook from scratch" ingredients may have jacked up prices.

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I'm not looking to place blame...I'm looking for empowerment solutions....how do you resist the well crafted marketing?

 

Maybe it's because I grew up on a farm, but most processed food just doesn't taste like food to me. I think if people would commit for just one month to eat only real food, processed and fast food would lose its appeal. Once you have a habit of eating real food, the thought of eating processed food is rather sickening.

 

As far as time issues go, cooking real food doesn't have to be overly time consuming. We usually cook enough to last for 2-3 meals. I will tell my family they can only have one pork chop or whatever, because this is dinner for two nights, and if they are still hungry, they need to eat fruit instead of more than the allotted entree. Roast beef or chicken takes only 15 minutes of prep time and the oven or slow cooker does the rest. You can also chop a bunch of veggies into large chunks, pour some olive oil and spices on them, and roast in the oven. Again, that can be done in 15 minutes, even less if you have kids who can help. A pressure cooker will speed up stove top cooking. Kids can help peel potatoes or chop veggies. You can buy bags of lettuce and other salad fixings already chopped to save time. But if you have time to tear up lettuce and put it in tupperware with a paper towel to absorb moisture, it will sometimes stay fresh for up to two weeks. Well, iceburg won't, but sturdier lettuce like romaine will.

 

Oh, and sometimes, it's not a question of cooking and time, but of making a healthier choice. Aldi's has a 12 grain bread that is fabulous. And that's coming from someone who wouldn't eat any whole wheat/whole grain bread into my forties. I ate only white bread until a couple of years ago.

Edited by LizzyBee
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I just don't know that I agree. When I grocery shop I generally hit Costco, WholeFoods or similar (I have allergies and need "special food" :lol:) and a regular run of the mill grocery store for some staples I don't want to buy in bulk or pay a ton of money. I sometimes go to Trader Joes.

 

I do all that to keep my costs down. I buy organic milk, I love farm fresh eggs as much as anyone but there is only so much driving around I can do. I like to go to the Farmer's Market but my kids do not actually consider that a "fun" outing like I do :lol: so I don't go a lot.

 

LOL I might be dense but I have no idea what you were not agreeing with. :lol:

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I think most people naturally tend to be fat if they have plenty of appealing food available. A lot of pre-made and fast food tastes very good and it's all easier than the alternative. For the Average Person, he must either make a consistent effort to be thin, or he will become fat. Obviously the amount of effort can be very, very great, so I don't mean to demean people for whom maintaining an "approved" weight is very difficult.

 

It just seems to be over-thinking the matter. Why are people fat? Because food tastes good and is cheap and ubiquitous. Why wouldn't they be fat? For most people, being fat comes all but automatically. Not being fat requires conscious effort.

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"I will go to Costco and drop $100 on produce alone. I am not sure that is something everyone can afford to do."

 

I spent $100 for the week yesterday at a supermarket that caters to poorer people. $1.67 for 30 bulbs of garlic, $2.50 for 10 lbs of sweet onions, $5 for 5 lbs of apples, $2.50 for three pints of strawberries, and so on, and so forth. All the cheapest prices here are in poorer neighbourhoods. It's possible to drop an almost infinite amount of money on produce, but it's not necessary.

 

It seems implausible that people are eating frozen pizza and McDonalds because they can't afford the onions and green beans they desperately want. It seems more likely that they're tired, that they prefer the taste of pizza and McDonalds, and/or that they don't want to spend the time on shopping and preparation.

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I totally agree. I can be just as guilty of falling into that trap. Last weekend I spent the day painting walls. It was easier to get a pizza from the grocery store than cook something. I was too tired to even cut up a cucumber. If I worked a hard job everyday I'd probably feel like that every day.

 

I know. If I had to work outside the home? I'd be in a coma all day from the interaction.

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I think most people naturally tend to be fat if they have plenty of appealing food available. A lot of pre-made and fast food tastes very good and it's all easier than the alternative. For the Average Person, he must either make a consistent effort to be thin, or he will become fat. Obviously the amount of effort can be very, very great, so I don't mean to demean people for whom maintaining an "approved" weight is very difficult.

 

It just seems to be over-thinking the matter. Why are people fat? Because food tastes good and is cheap and ubiquitous. Why wouldn't they be fat? For most people, being fat comes all but automatically. Not being fat requires conscious effort.

 

 

:iagree: But my dh and all of his family are slender, as are our 2 sons. :001_huh:

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I spent $100 for the week yesterday at a supermarket that caters to poorer people. $1.67 for 30 bulbs of garlic, $2.50 for 10 lbs of sweet onions, $5 for 5 lbs of apples, $2.50 for three pints of strawberries, and so on, and so forth. All the cheapest prices here are in poorer neighbourhoods.

I shop at a lot of stores that cater to poor or just cheap immigrants (plenty of professional immigrants shop this way, for example, and pinch their pennies) who do cook from scratch. There's tons of produce to be had there. (Some of it is borderline rotten, mind you. One must be careful and eat immediately.)

 

In fact, in The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table, the author found the fresh produce to be cheaper and way tastier at a local Mexican grocery store compared to Walmart, where canned and prepared stuff was a relatively huge bargain but produce was tired, rotten, and not cheap (she had a gig working in produce at a Walmart).

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I totally agree. I can be just as guilty of falling into that trap. Last weekend I spent the day painting walls. It was easier to get a pizza from the grocery store than cook something. I was too tired to even cut up a cucumber. If I worked a hard job everyday I'd probably feel like that every day.

 

That's why it seems more realistic to me. At least for me, cooking from scratch every day (and because of where we live, I pretty much have to) is _hard_. there are some days I would just about kill to be able to order in pizza. And I'm a good cook and I generally like to cook, and my kids have been trained from an early age to eat what I cook. When I worked I had to get my husband to clear off the table because I was so tired after getting people fed.

 

It makes all the sense in the world to me that given limited time and energy, people would opt for take-away instead of lentils.

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I realize this may be an over simplistic view of this multifaceted problem but.....

 

 

I'm not looking to place blame...I'm looking for empowerment solutions....how do you resist the well crafted marketing?

 

and #2 I recognize it and celebrate that fact when I do say, "NO"!

Sometimes when I am out shopping (food, clothing or ...) and I come across a "good" deal. I ask myself do I really need it OR can someone else be blessed by my not buying it so they can buy it! Seriously, this really works for me. It also helps to have someone that you are accountable to.

The one thing that is almost as embarassing as standing "naked" in public is baring your finances to someone other than your spouse. Now that's naked but of another kind! But it helps you not hide things and it also helps you get to the emotional (usually hidden) reason why it's hard to say "no".

I have put a shredder and recycle container at our front door, to shred junk mail and to dump catalogs and other such nonsense. This helps cut down the 'cravings'. There have been days when there's no real mail, just all junk!

Hope this helps.

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I spent $100 for the week yesterday at a supermarket that caters to poorer people. $1.67 for 30 bulbs of garlic, $2.50 for 10 lbs of sweet onions, $5 for 5 lbs of apples, $2.50 for three pints of strawberries, and so on, and so forth. All the cheapest prices here are in poorer neighbourhoods. It's possible to drop an almost infinite amount of money on produce, but it's not necessary.

 

It seems implausible that people are eating frozen pizza and McDonalds because they can't afford the onions and green beans they desperately want. It seems more likely that they're tired, that they prefer the taste of pizza and McDonalds, and/or that they don't want to spend the time on shopping and preparation.

 

I could buy 5 lb worth of onions for $2.50 but I haven't seen edible looking onions that were 10 lbs for $2.50. Apples are rarely $5 for 5lbs where I lived that I have seen.

 

I would buy a bag of 6 red bell peppers

Large Bag of carrots

Large Bag of celery hearts

10 lbs of red onions

20 lb bag of potatoes

Box of lettuce mix

large package of strawberries

Blueberries

A watermelon

A package of English cucumbers

oranges

5 lbs of tomatoes

A pineapple

Bag of avocadoes

Squash

Green beans

Apples

 

 

I didn't usually buy produce in my neighborhood or surrounding neighborhoods because I found the grocery stores to be dirty, poorly stocked, and the quality doesn't always thrill me. I have an autoimmune disease, I need to get most of my nutrition from fresh foods and I can't have many processed foods because my body cannot tolerate them as well. You can mock how much I spend on groceries but I spend what I do for my health. Produce is the majority of my grocery bill. I don't spend nearly as much on meat and other items.

 

My list would generally last my family about two-three weeks depending on what it is.

 

I am moving to a new area so I am going to be changing my routine obviously.

Edited by Sis
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You can mock how much I spend on groceries but I spend what I do for my health. Produce is the majority of my grocery bill. I don't spend nearly as much on meat and other items.

 

I don't think spending money on quality produce is a waste, and I certainly think your spending makes sense! And it has been my experience that decent produce can be found -- in some areas -- very reasonably. I think there is such variety in our neighborhoods and shopping environments that it's not that helpful to discuss other than very general things with someone who lives far away. My grandma is always telling me to shop at the 99c store for produce. Not helpful since we don't have any here.

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I agree with others who said that cheap food tastes good :( It's so much easier and cheaper for me to buy some deli counter lunch meat, fresh rolls, some lettuce and cheese.....a bag of Cheetos, some tea and fresh seasonal fruit than it is to try and figure out more whole foods type lunches that will satisfy my cravings and fill me up.

 

I could go to Trader Joes and buy some hummus, pita bread, nuts, fruit and tea....but it's more expensive and will be gone faster.

 

I know once I start eating better, I will crave the carp less ;) It's just finding recipes, experimenting, etc.

 

Thank you for the great suggestions and the links...I'm going to seriously go through them and try to get inspired :)

 

I do want to change....

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I shop at a lot of stores that cater to poor or just cheap immigrants (plenty of professional immigrants shop this way, for example, and pinch their pennies) who do cook from scratch. There's tons of produce to be had there. (Some of it is borderline rotten, mind you. One must be careful and eat immediately.)

 

In fact, in The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table, the author found the fresh produce to be cheaper and way tastier at a local Mexican grocery store compared to Walmart, where canned and prepared stuff was a relatively huge bargain but produce was tired, rotten, and not cheap (she had a gig working in produce at a Walmart).

 

Yep. I shop at a store with fantastic produce and meat, way better and considerably cheaper than Walmart or the other big chain grocery stores. The other benefit is the lack of prepackaged food at this store. I will buy a few non-perishables, but only exactly what I need, i.e. canned tomato goods for spaghetti night. I can't afford to buy all organic or shop at Whole Foods all the time, but for me cooking from scratch is cheaper. Stouffers lasagna is $14. I can't buy that. At least not often. I always thought prepackaged foods were for rich people, although I've been aware of the grocery desert in low income neighborhoods. Back to the original question about marketing - it doesn't have much impact on me these days, but it never ceases to amaze me how much is geared toward children.

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I could buy 5 lb worth of onions for $2.50 but I haven't seen edible looking onions that were 10 lbs for $2.50. Apples are rarely $5 for 5lbs where I lived that I have seen.

 

I would buy a bag of 6 red bell peppers

Large Bag of carrots

Large Bag of celery hearts

10 lbs of red onions

20 lb bag of potatoes

Box of lettuce mix

large package of strawberries

Blueberries

A watermelon

A package of English cucumbers

oranges

5 lbs of tomatoes

A pineapple

Bag of avocadoes

Squash

Green beans

Apples

 

 

I didn't usually buy produce in my neighborhood or surrounding neighborhoods because I found the grocery stores to be dirty, poorly stocked, and the quality doesn't always thrill me. I have an autoimmune disease, I need to get most of my nutrition from fresh foods and I can't have many processed foods because my body cannot tolerate them as well. You can mock how much I spend on groceries but I spend what I do for my health. Produce is the majority of my grocery bill. I don't spend nearly as much on meat and other items.

 

My list would generally last my family about two-three weeks depending on what it is.

 

I am moving to a new area so I am going to be changing my routine obviously.

 

I am not mocking at all what you spend on your groceries. You have a perfect right to spend whatever you want on groceries. What I dispute is that it's necessary to spend $100 on produce in order to eat a produce-heavy diet. The onions are definitely edible. Given what prices are here, I would leave out the squash, pineapple, watermelon, celery hearts, bell peppers, and salad mix. All of those remain pretty expensive right now (sometimes peppers come down but it's spotty). Salad mix is always expensive. Most of the rest can be had locally for very low prices.

 

I am cheap, we have special dietary needs, and we eat a diet very low in processed foods. We eat canned tomatoes (that I process and can yearly) and canned soup (that I make and can monthly). We generally eat pre made pasta. And I send my child to day camp with generic cheerios. Other than that? I bake the bread, I make the stock, I make the sauces, I grow the berries, I make the salad dressing from raspberry vinegar from the raspberries I grew in the garden -- this is a low-in-processed-foods household.

 

And the limiting factor is not cost. It is time, effort, and energy. It is possible to eat a diet that is produce-rich without spending a ton of money. It's not possible to eat a diet that is produce-rich, inexpensive, and doesn't require quite a bit of cooking. And it isn't going to taste like McDonalds, no matter what.

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I agree with others who said that cheap food tastes good :( It's so much easier and cheaper for me to buy some deli counter lunch meat, fresh rolls, some lettuce and cheese.....a bag of Cheetos, some tea and fresh seasonal fruit than it is to try and figure out more whole foods type lunches that will satisfy my cravings and fill me up.

 

I could go to Trader Joes and buy some hummus, pita bread, nuts, fruit and tea....but it's more expensive and will be gone faster.

 

I know once I start eating better, I will crave the carp less ;) It's just finding recipes, experimenting, etc.

 

Thank you for the great suggestions and the links...I'm going to seriously go through them and try to get inspired :)

 

I do want to change....

 

No, no, no. You throw a can of garbanza beans, olive oil, and a few other ingredients in your blender. It's cheap and sooo much tastier than store bought hummus. :001_smile:

 

And I just found a pita bread recipe this week on a Vitamix website, but if you have a heavy duty blender, it doesn't have to be a Vitamix. For that matter, I think you could do it without a blender, but you'd have to substitute some elbow grease. The ingredients were whole wheat flour and water, and it takes about 5 minutes to mix it up and knead it, then 10 or 15 minutes to bake.

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