June 16, 2008
Every time I turn anything from NPR to Fox News, it's the same story: The rising cost of food. Before I pound this one into a pulp, I'll preface by saying that I feel terrible and frustrated by the thought of people around the world struggling to survive, spending more than 75% of their income on food and forgoing their own meals for the sake of their children.
But here's what frustrates me even more: Americans driving SUVs to grocery stores to buy milk, eggs and Tyson chicken fingers, stopping for a Coolatta at the drive-thru, and coming home to watch one of their 500 cable channels on their 60" plasma TV which they bought on credit and are making only minimal monthly payments on. And then complaining about the rising costs of food.
I think the food cost issue is the best thing to happen to the American diet in a long time. It's like your best friend who carefully points out that maybe those pants DO make you look fat. Your best friend is just helping you by showing you the obvious facts...and you love her for it. Rising food costs can do the same by pointing out how our food production methods are simply not sustainable and we're going to have to change.
How about trading in chicken and hamburgers for locally grown swiss chard with tomatoes, olives, lentils and a homemade vinaigrette? Delicious, healthy, and cheaper than even the cheapest 70/30 ground beef. How about investigating plant-based options for calcium, like almonds or kale, and drinking less milk?
Even if food costs don't sway Americans towards eating more veggies and less processed food, I have to point out some mixed-up priorities. We'll spend way beyond our means on things like flat-screen TVs, ipods and iphones, the latest sneakers, and god forbid you don't get HBO. But spend money on quality food and suddenly it's a...crisis?