Greg McFarlane is an advertising copywriter who lives in Las Vegas and Lahaina – testament to the power of entrepreneurship. He runs Control Your Cash and recently wrote Control Your Cash: Making Money Make Sense, a financial primer for people in their 20s and 30s who know nothing about money. Buy the book here (physical) or here (Kindle) and reach Greg at greg@ControlYourCash.com.
“Poor people eat fast food and get fat because they have no choice.”
Is that the Center for Science in the Public Interest blathering about that this week? Maybe the Centers for Disease Control? That sanctimonious Canadian harpy Naomi Klein probably has something earnest and humorless to say about it, too.
That opening statement is taken as Scripture by a lot of people, largely because critical thinking has gone the way of whittling and bootblackery on the list of rudimentary American skills. That poor people eat badly because they can’t afford to do otherwise is a bigger myth than the one about women getting beaten up on Super Bowl Sunday. The debunking starts now.
Your humble blogger eats the same meals almost every day, at the same times. Here’s how it breaks down:
|7 a.m.||Calories||Price||Protein (g)||Fat (g)|
|1 pint nonfat milk||100||0.26||16||0|
|2/3 cup instant oatmeal||200||0.30||7||4|
|1 pint coffee||0||0.44||0||0|
|3/4 cup egg whites||130||0.76||22||0|
|1 pint orange juice||220||0.43||0||0|
|4 slices, Louis Rich turkey bacon||140||0.31||8||9|
|1 grilled chicken breast||165||0.89||30||4|
|1 cup broccoli||30||0.16||1||0|
|1 pint water||0||0.00||0||0|
|1 red Delicious apple||40||0.00 (backyard tree)||1||0|
|1 blended drink (1.5 cups grapefruit juice, 1 banana, 1 cup Wawona Festival Blend frozen strawberries, mango and pineapple, ice)||660||0.79||5||0|
|1 ground turkey sandwich (1 patty, 1 bun, tomato slice, condiments including chipotle sauce and maybe ketchup)||270||0.70||25||7|
|1/2 pint Coke Zero||0||0.38||0||0|
|1 cup spinach||20||0.40||2||0|
|19 oz. Progresso chicken noodle soup||100||1.50||7||2.5|
Can per-serving prices be that low? If the prices sound less than reasonable, it’s because you’ve never shopped at Costco or Sam’s Club. And/or maybe you’ve never cooked. Still; $7.65 a day, and that’s for a fairly carnivorous man who thinks bison and elk are as delicious as they are majestic. Remove the meat, add some lentils and rice, and watch that total fall even lower.
Let’s contrast that with what the American underclass presumably eats. To hear the members of the nation’s health NKVD commissariat, you’d have to believe that the following is a typical day’s diet for a slovenly American who would be supping on almond blancmange and roast lobster on cauliflower at Chez Joël Robuchon if we could only do a better job collectively of distributing income and educating the masses on the finer points of gastronomy.
|Calories||Price||Protein (g)||Fat (g)|
|McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin with egg, 1 pint orange juice, 1% milk||870||4.87||32||37|
|Burger King medium Double Whopper value meal (including medium Coke)||1650||6.89||53||24|
|Taco Bell Bacon Club Chalupa||490||1.99||23||32|
The Control Your Cash Diet (note to self: market this? After all, people will apparently buy anything) is far healthier and 44% cheaper than a relatively modest fast-food diet.
Okay, what’s your excuse now? Poor people don’t know how to turn an oven on? Advertising makes it too hard to resist fast food? People tried to smoke the leafy green things instead of eating them? The Elders of Zion and the Rand Corporation have a hand in this? A true consumer advocate is in a quandary if she’s forced to say something positive about big-box retailers?
Cheap food doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy food. Wendy’s doesn’t have anyone’s blood on their hands, except for a few hundred thousand cows. Regardless of the strength of the overall economy, your nutrition should be the last thing to suffer.