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Justifying the expense of good food.

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Old 06-03-2010, 09:19 PM   #1
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Default Justifying the expense of good food.

Can anyone else identify with this?

I feel guilty when I buy high-quality food. Like chicken breast or fresh vegetables or olive oil or salad greens.

I know it's ridiculous! Why was it any better to spend two dollars nearly every day at the McD's dollar menu, but not okay to spend it on healthy food?


This is self-talk for me in a way. To be healthy, I've got to eat healthy food, and sometimes a pound of real cod fish costs more than fish sticks, but there's probably more actual fish with the cod fillet.

I said I feel guilty, but part of changing this lifestyle is to purge out the junk food and replace it with healthy items.


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Old 06-03-2010, 09:27 PM   #2
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I think many people have an array of emotions surrounding this topic; fear of not being able to afford the lifestyle, time investment, inconvenience and so on. It's worth it to find a way to make it work.
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:28 PM   #3
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I know, sometimes I shake my head at the price of good food and think "of COURSE everyone in the world is fat!" it's kind of ridiculous, but supply & demand is what it is. For me, I never batted an eye getting a DOUBLE burger, fries & milkshake @ wendy's for about $8.50, then buying chips and pop for another $5, dairy queen to round out the day, for over $5 so I figure even buying the best of the good food now, I'm still ahead grocery-budget wise!!! When I eliminated junk after dinner I'm amazed at how much money I saved - for a while there I put the money I used to spend on CRAP minus what I pay now, into a separate jar -- after a few months i had enough to buy my Wii and then the Fit Plus!! it adds up believe me -- it might be a sticker shock at first, but when you eliminate all the soda and snacks and crap on top of it, i really do think you come out ahead

I also think there IS a way to eat on a budget and get the BEST quality at the same time -- shop in season, buy in bulk (still check the price, more isn't always cheaper) and freeze things -- and frozen veg on sale are great! they're flash-frozen at peak freshness so they're very nutritious -- where there's a will there's a way!!
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:31 PM   #4
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Thanks, ladies. That's why I'm here...for support from someone who knows!

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Old 06-03-2010, 11:01 PM   #5
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Well, I figure we all pay for it one way or another sooner or later.

I can pay for it up front, and aim for better health, or I can pay for it later in the physical costs, quality of life costs, and medical costs associated with poor health. I'm better, but I remember being winded going up the stairs of my house.

We also all pay for it in production time and labor, packaging, transportation, environmental impact, worker rights etc.

Meats of course, cost more than plant oriented food. It's an easy enough adjustment to eat more plants than meats, and then when you do eat meats, buy the best you can afford. (Of course, I hang more in the land of chicken breast than lobster.)

If your grocery bill includes cleaning supplies, switching to green cleaning can help with some savings which can then be spent on better food.

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Old 06-03-2010, 11:27 PM   #6
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My grocery costs actually aren't all that much and I buy lots of fruits and veggies, even quite a bit organic. I rather fuel my body with good stuff than feed it a bunch of junk it doesn't need.

Of course I just signed up for a fairly expensive fitness program and that took a lot of justification in my mind.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:58 PM   #7
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I know what you mean! But I was thinking today at the grocery store how much I used to spend on stupid stuff-- junk I bought at a convenience store for example....

The main thing with buying a lot of fruits and veggies is that you have to plan a little better so that none of it goes to waste...
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:22 AM   #8
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I spend more money on meat and cheese than I used to, and much less on chips and sweets. We have our milk delivered from a local farm, so that's more expensive than grocery store prices. But I'd rather eat a hamburger made from the fresh ground beef I get from the Mennonite butcher than the grocery-store brand that doesn't taste as good. Since I'm not doctoring up my food with sauces and stuff as much, the basic taste shines through more. And thus quality is much more important to me than it used to be.

It's worth it to spend a bit more and get a better, healthier, tastier product.
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:38 AM   #9
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I am like Trazey and the others that save money eating healthy. I spent at least $8/day on fast food breakfast and the vending machine at work. The main difference now is that I spend it in one chunk at the grocery store instead of 2 or 3 dollars here and there.
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:05 AM   #10
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Default Paradox of healthy eating

When I weighed 275 lbs, I ate all the wrong foods and ate lots of it. I wasted a lot of money on junk, processed, packaged, etc. Now that I am trying to eat healthier (minus my one week off the wagon) I find that if I am really careful, shop the sales, shop at the stores I know have the best prices, stick to my list, plan a menu for the week...I am actually spending LESS to get MORE. More nutrition, more peace of mind, more sanity. (I recently faced a reduction of $700 take home pay) I had to figure out how to get the most healthy food I could for about $45 a week. When I used to spend about $100.

When I weighed 275 lbs I was afraid of going hungry, hid food in my car and at my desk so I would never be without. At fast food for lunch most days. I worried where my next meal was coming from and scheduled work around meal times. "I can't have a meeting at noon that's lunch time!" I was gorging on junk but never felt satisfied. A lot of that was mental but a good deal of it was (my theory) my body telling me I was starving myself of healthy nutrients by only eating junk.

Now that I have a bit more control over my eating habits, I find myself planning a weeks worth of menus in advance, making a list, sticking to that list and just as I try to spend my calories wisely to get the best quality of the most nutrient dense food I can, I do the same with my dollars. I buy the best of whatever I can afford. I don't mind spending $4.00 lb on chicken breast now when I used to go for the $1.99 lb ground beef. I stretch the chicken farther than I used to the hamburger and find that I feel far more satisfied eating healthy than I ever did eating junk.
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:05 AM   #11
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If you shop wisely it doesn't have to be expensive look for special sales and discounts , read the weekly ads, shop around.
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:34 AM   #12
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I also find that I spend less money overall. For one thing, I tended to eat in larger quantities. So a lot of what I eat is the same as before, but food lasts longer because I eat a little less at a time. And second, I was eating junk IN ADDITION TO the healthy food. The cookies, candy, ice cream that I was buying every time I went to the store really adds up. I still buy a little bit of that for my son, but the difference is that I can buy a bag of Oreos and it will last for weeks instead of just a few days.

And then finally, for me, the biggest savings is bringing my lunch most days. I was routinely spending about $7 per day on lunch. Not necessarily terrible things in terms of healthy eating, although there was usually one McDonald's meal in there each week. But even the healthy wraps, bowls, etc. still added a lot to the budget. Now I make my salad almost every day and while I do spend more at the grocery store, it's probably the cost of 1 day's take out lunch to pay for an entire week's worth of lunches.
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:45 AM   #13
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I never bought my crutch foods in with my regular groceries. Sure, we had ice cream or cookies or debbie cakes in the cart, but my junk came during the day at work (vending machines, breakfast/lunch out, $1 chocolate bars for someone's kid to raise money, stop at the gas station and come out with a bag full of chips and candy) so my grocery bill itself went UP but the extra money I was spending daily is still sitting in my wallet.

Of course my SO was not around for the extraneous spending, so he has a stroke at the register when we're checking out, but the price of home-made lunch for two adults for 5 days a week is waaaaay less than two take-out meals for 5 days. Also we buy our paper products, cleaning supplies, soap/detergent/shampoo etc., diapers/wipes, all at the same time. Sometimes you can get sticker shock!

It evens out. Your health is worth it!!
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:17 PM   #14
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I've traded in food guilt for food selfishness. For years what I ate or didn't eat, was motivated in part by guilt. Even though I got pleasure from food, it was never a simple pleasure (guilt was always wrapped up in it - from the age of 5 when I was put on my first diet, and first learned to "sneak" food).

My new "thrill" has been finding exotic, but healthy foods to try (even a "bad" food experience is overshadowed by the fun of trying something new).

I shop small ethnic groceries, for example. At oriental markets, I buy exotic fruits and vegetables (and on the plus side, cabbage, bok choy, green onions, cilantro, beansprouts, eggplant are cheaper and better tasting than in the mainstream grocery stores. I've also found such exotic favorites as garlic chive buds and chinese broccoli).

It doesn't feel like it, but guilt is learned behavior. You can unlearn it, basically by talking to yourself - it's not crazy, it's essential (but in public you probably want to do it in your head and not out loud)
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Old 06-04-2010, 01:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodforme View Post
I never bought my crutch foods in with my regular groceries. Sure, we had ice cream or cookies or debbie cakes in the cart, but my junk came during the day at work (vending machines, breakfast/lunch out, $1 chocolate bars for someone's kid to raise money, stop at the gas station and come out with a bag full of chips and candy) so my grocery bill itself went UP but the extra money I was spending daily is still sitting in my wallet.
Oh man, this is ME in a nutshell... I used to keep cash in my wallet and that's what I used to buy the crud-- also I used to buy food at work, which came out of my paycheck, and somehow I never "counted" that LOL....

I'm sure I used to spend 25 bucks a week, on average, on all that snacky stuff, especially since it costs top dollar when you buy it at the gas station. And it's not exactly like I saved that 25 bucks when I shopped at the grocery store. That money was all just added on top.
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