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Myth-busting: healthy foods are costly

How much do you think I paid for 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds) of sorghum groats (entirely whole grain)?

 

My cost (including delivery) was 17.3 RMB ($2.68). Yes, you may have to pay a bit more in Western countries like the USA. Sorghum, especially sorghum groats, is super nutritious with healthy protein, a lot of anti-oxidants, full of phytochemicals, including tannins, phenolic acids, anthocyanins, phytosterols and policosanols, and high in fiber. Also gluten-free! 

How much would it cost per day to live off sorghum groats?

Yes, I know you would need to pay more than this to get a healthy balanced diet. You couldn't live forever on just sorghum. But it will help make the point. 

Let's imagine you need 2000 calories per day. At 316 calories per 96 grams of dried sorghum, that gives you about 8200 calories in that 2.5 kg of sorghum I bought. Therefore, I could get 2000 calories per day for over four days if I ate only sorghum. That means my food budget would be 4.3 RMB (about $0.67) per day.

To eat a balanced (and more tasty) diet, you may break the budget at $8 per day (USA prices). See Eating healthily on a tight budget.

It's the expensive foods that are often killing us

Life was hard in occupied Norway during WWII, but the occupation had one surprising result: deaths from CVD and heart attacks dropped precipitously because Norwegians ate less fat and were more physically active. The Germans confiscated their rich dairy and meat foods, leaving the Norwegians to "subsist" off a more vegan-style diet. After the war, they returned to their former more expensive lifestyle and the CVD deaths returned.

The evidence is overwhelming. What we're doing with our wealth (and our wealthy societies) food-wise is killing us. Even the "poor" people in wealthy societies eat more refined junk than the poor people in societies where there is less refined and processed food available and they have to stick with food like beans and whole grains.

And lack of natural plant fiber is a major culprit

The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 25 grams of fiber a day, which falls far short of the 100 grams a day that members of hunter-gatherers got, which we all were 10,000 years ago. But even at 25 grams a day, experts estimate that 95-97% of the USA population get less than that.

To get a rough measure of how much healthy plant fiber you're consuming, if you're generally having less than two hefty bowel movements per day, you're not getting enough fiber. That by itself, however, doesn't necessarily guarantee that you're overall diet is the best.

I can hear you saying, "But what about organic? Organic food is more expensive."

True, organic is. And organic does add some value. However, compared with the additional value of eating unprocessed whole plant food as the source of 95+% of your calories, that value is quite small. 

And, by soaking your fruits and vegetable in an inexpensive baking soda solution that will remove the bulk of the pesticides in many cases, you can add in some of that value that would be gained by buying organic, but much less expensively. For references on the science behind this, search "using baking soda to removed pesticides" on Google or go to this link.

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