Americans now spend less on food than ever before. According to the USDA, less than 10 percent of our income is spent at the grocery store. We’ve come to expect cheap meals. But, we’re paying the difference in other places, like with health-care bills and damage to the environment. This week’s cover story in Time Magazine sums it up….
“Once you factor in crop subsidies, ecological damage and what we pay in health-care bills after our fatty, sugary diet makes us sick, conventionally produced food looks a lot pricier.”
You can get a burger, fries and a Coke for right under $5. I paid about that much last night for a head of broccoli. Bad-for-you calories cost less than good-for-you calories. We know this. And it’s no wonder America has a weight problem. But it’s not just our personal food choices that are to blame. When you look at what goes into making that $5 meal, it’s even worse.
Corn is the staple of everything on that value menu, from the corn syrup in the Coke, to the oil the fries are cooked in, to the feed the cow eats. That’s because corn is super cheap to grow thanks to government subsidies. Annually farmers produce 12 billion bushels of corn – four times what they did in the 70s – to feed our food supply. Corn itself is not bad, but with the chemicals necessary to produce such a mass crop, the rate at which Americans are consuming it, and what we’re now not eating instead, it’s simply unnatural.
Cheap corn has kept meat prices low while demand has sky rocketed. It’s the diet of farmed animals (even fish), never mind that cows and chickens are meant to eat grass. Details. The animals live in wall-to-wall packed CAFOs (concentrated-animal feeding operations) and they’re pumped full of antibiotics to keep the waste and bacteria from killing them. All of that gets packaged up with the meat. And it’s sold at $2 a pound on a shelf near you.
Angry? Then you should probably read the article.
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps families find healthy routines that work, with no more “what’s for dinner?” stress, and a lot better food. Her family meal plans help moms take charge of their kitchen and their own health, leading to more vegetables and less junk all around. Megan also shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.