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Values - Food Rant

by Jan Edwards

our values are skewed. These days it is cheaper to be an alcoholic than a bibliophile. It is cheaper to buy a box of preservative loaded snack cakes than it is to buy nectarines.

When a bottle of liquor or wine can be had for a fraction of the cost of a hardback book, which averages $25.00, what kind of message does this send to children?

Refined sugars, preservatives and processed white flour are supposed to be poisonous. Why does it cost $1.34 for two white nectarines? I can buy a box of ten preservative loaded snack cakes for around 99 cents. Dessert five times instead of once. Although the smiling face of a wholesome young girl graces the box of snack cakes, I know the fruit is better for me.

Fruit juice is another high-priced example and a carton of milk costs more than a twelve pack of soda. Are we destined to become a bunch of rotten toothed, scurvy ridden, calcium deprived, illiterate human beings?

Chicken and fish are supposed to be healthier than beef and pork. For the price of a couple of salmon steaks, you can buy four beautiful rib eyes (and there are no bones to contend with). The price per pound of fish is twice the price of beef. At my house, fresh shrimp is a delicacy reserved for Christmas Eve. The price of chicken breasts is exhorbitant when compared to ground sirloin or pork chops. I'll err on the side of price every time.

If I buy fresh vegetables, I know it will be more expensive than the giant's frozen boil-in bag. Not only are fresh vegetables more expensive, but you have to clean, peel and prepare them and use them within a couple of days or throw the whole lot out. The frozen bags make two perfect portions, are ready in less than ten minutes and they won't degenerate into scary, furry creatures in the vegetable drawer requiring removal with elbow length hot mitts and tongs. But am I getting my vitamins?

Why should decaffeinated coffee cost more than the rich robust full-bodied type? We are getting less, but paying more. Many women have been urged by doctors to cut down on caffeine due to fibrocycstic breast disease. People with Attention Deficit Disorder, migraine headaches and those who are pregnant are told to steer clear of caffeine. If caffeine causes problems for so many people, why aren't decaffeinated versions the standard and least expensive, rather specialty in different colored packages?

Have you noticed that a bottle of vegetable cooking oil loaded with saturated fat can be had for a few dollars and pure virgin olive oil is three or four times as expensive? Do you know why the olive oil costs more? Because it is better for you.

Egg substitutes in their cute little cartons are more expensive than twelve real eggs - and the taste has been removed along with the cholesterol. The low fat and fat free cookies are packaged about 12 to a box and cost the same as a pound bag of the sugar loaded cookies. Dietetic products are located in a separate section, in smaller more expensive packages than their sugar containing counterparts.

A pound and a half package of processed, preserved, mystery pig part loaded bologna is under $3.00, while deli sliced turkey breast with no added fats, sodium or preservatives costs about $6.00 a pound on sale.

What am I saying? That you have to be wealthy to be healthy? That is really bad news since many diseases requiring specific diets affect the elderly. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and periodontal disease all require nutritious diets. At a time when income is lowest, the need for expensive good is greatest. Think about it. What has happed to our values?

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