Today was doing my Sunday morning grocery shopping run for the week. Often when I am waiting in line, I like to observe what other people have in their shopping carts, particularly those people shopping with kids.
This morning there was a mother with three school-aged kids in front of me. It appeared that they were doing the same as me, stocking up for the week. On the conveyer belt, I spotted a lot of “kid food.” There was sugary cereals seen advertised on TV. I saw single servings of flavored yogurts with candy bits displayed in a clear compartments on top. There were A LOT of drinks, particularly sodas and fruit juices. A large box of individually packed potato chips in different flavors was stashed under the grocery cart. There were crackers, beef broth, frozen foods, and ground meat. What was curiously missing was plants. I’m a physician so I noticed both the mother and her youngest child were clearly obese, and the other two children appeared pale and sluggish.
After they checked out, I moved up to the cashier and looked at the computer screen. The total of their bill was still up on the screen. I was shocked….277 dollars!
In contrast I looked at my weekly selections. There were proteins like eggs, tofu, tempeh, beans, Greek yogurt and almond milk. I had grains like whole wheat wraps and bread. And there were TONS of plant foods-apples, avocados, bananas, peppers, greens, mushrooms, pomegranates and more. Many of the foods were organic. One might hear this list and think, “That sounds like a lot of expensive food!” Here’s the best part-my total was $80.08! The day before I spent about 15 dollars at the farmer’s market on produce and about 20 dollars at Costco on broccoli and berries. That brings my grand total for the week to 115 dollars.
Now, granted, the family I saw may have been shopping for more people than our family has, and I’m not sure what other circumstances may have inflated their bill. However, I observe over and over that families are spending extra money on food and calories they don’t need. Here’s a list of items that this family was buying in addition to their groceries:
- Early onset of diabetes- The abundance of sugar in processed food is astounding. It’s no wonder that the rates of type 2 diabetes in children is skyrocketing.
- Obesity- With the one third of children now overweight or obese, we should be less worried about how many calories our dollars buy and more focused on how many nutrients we can buy. Extra calories are weighing down kids bodies, causing them back pain, flat feet, and poor self image.
- Constipation-A fiberless diets means trouble in the bathroom. Don’t get me started on how many children I treat for constipation!
- Early coronary artery disease- Fructose in processed foods and sodas get converted into artery clogging fat. This process starts in childhood.
- Poor attention and concentration- I can’t help but wonder how many kids taking Ritalin would be doing better in school if they just ate a whole food diet with less food dye and preservatives.
- Shortened lifespan-Our children’s lifespans will be shorter than ours. Why? Because the standard American diet is making us sick.
I would rather spend less money at the grocery store and leave those things behind. My skimpy grocery bill bought me delicious food with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that will keep our bodies healthy, lean and strong, hopefully for years to come. Now that’s a bargain!
To sign up for our grocery shopping class and learn more about saving money while feeding your family healthy food, visit our nonprofit’s website, doctoryumproject.org.