Everybody eats

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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simplesimon
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Everybody eats

Post by simplesimon » Wed Aug 13, 2008 5:02 pm

Neat slides on the different kinds of foods (and its costs!) from around the world.

http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0 ... 19,00.html

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AzRunner
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Post by AzRunner » Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:54 pm

Thanks for the post. Very interesting. It got me to thinking what a week's worth of food at our home would look like.

Norm

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Post by White Coat Investor » Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:31 pm

I always find it amazing just how cheaply (even in the US) someone can sustain life. I mean really, you could buy a big bag of rice, a big bag of beans, oatmeal, powdered milk, maybe even some spaghetti/cans of tomatoe sauce and a bottle of vitamins and eat for a month on less than $30/person if you really had to. Especially if you had a garden.

We pay a lot for convenience, taste, and ambience don't we?
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LFT_PFT
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Post by LFT_PFT » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:53 am

Interesting Pictures.

Generally looks like the British and American families depicted have the most processed food and least fruits and vegetables.

Germans have most beer. :)

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samurai sam
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Post by samurai sam » Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:44 pm

Wow, many of these folks are spending in a week what my wife and I spend in a month, and we eat pretty well. I think the difference is we don't load up on the highly processed foods, and make more meals from scratch. I look at a lot of the "junk" food that the North Carolina family consumes, and I cringe. Are they really spending almost $1500 a month for that??? I'm going to wager those families depicted who are at the lower end of the food budget are going to be in better health, as generally I see lot's more fresh fruits and veges( and I would suspect whole grains ) in their pantry. An illuminating article.
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Post by mephistophles » Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:37 am

EmergDoc wrote:I always find it amazing just how cheaply (even in the US) someone can sustain life. I mean really, you could buy a big bag of rice, a big bag of beans, oatmeal, powdered milk, maybe even some spaghetti/cans of tomatoe sauce and a bottle of vitamins and eat for a month on less than $30/person if you really had to. Especially if you had a garden.

We pay a lot for convenience, taste, and ambience don't we?
Growing up, we had a neighbor who lived on pancakes and things made from pancake mix. I think they ate for about $10 a month. One could live on potatoes, bought in 50 pound bags on sale very cheaply. Our market sells 10 pound bags of dark meat chicken quarters for 59 cents a pound. Also, all dishes made from scratch would cost a fraction of the prepared or frozen variety.

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Post by Rodc » Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:39 am

EmergDoc wrote:I always find it amazing just how cheaply (even in the US) someone can sustain life. I mean really, you could buy a big bag of rice, a big bag of beans, oatmeal, powdered milk, maybe even some spaghetti/cans of tomatoe sauce and a bottle of vitamins and eat for a month on less than $30/person if you really had to. Especially if you had a garden.

We pay a lot for convenience, taste, and ambience don't we?
Yes. I don't remember exactly now, but in the years I was a graduate student (lots of such years :lol:) but I eat that way a lot! Just add some potatoes, cheese and hot sauce, and tortillas, and skip the milk. Careful though, if the beans to rice ratio is too high life gets a little gassy.

I was full and healthy and had enough energy to rock climb, hike at altitude and run for miles for hours a day in the summer (which in part explains why graduate school took so long :) )
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Post by White Coat Investor » Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:10 am

Heck. Add potatoes, carrots, and the occasional fresh-caught fish to the diet I noted above. You can even add peanut butter, jelly, and some inexpensive bread (or here's a thought, bake your own.) My point is you can get a diet that is nutritionally acceptable and contains sufficient calories to maintain weight and sustain life for a fraction of what most of us spend on food, especially if you go out to eat every month.

You can eat a sustainable diet for very little money if you're willing to eat food that doesn't taste that great and requires significant preparation time and effort, even in America.

[political comments removed by admin alex]
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Post by Rodc » Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:14 am

Heck. Add potatoes, carrots, and the occasional fresh-caught fish to the diet I noted above. You can even add peanut butter, jelly, and some inexpensive bread (or here's a thought, bake your own.) My point is you can get a diet that is nutritionally acceptable and contains sufficient calories to maintain weight and sustain life for a fraction of what most of us spend on food, especially if you go out to eat every month.
Um, just to be clear, I was agreeing with you...
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: Interesting

Post by White Coat Investor » Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:30 am

goggles wrote:...they'll pay the rent and eat at the dollar menu at McDonald's. Really, it's rational behavior. Although the dollar menu staves off hunger, it can lead to weight gain and overall ill health. I would commend a program that would feed all Americans enough, but I'd be afraid that rice and beans alone wouldn't be a really healthy diet, even with vitamins.
Rice and beans not a really healthy diet? Are you kidding me? Especially when you're comparing to McDonalds?

Here's Rice:

http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/c ... ut_edit.pl

Plenty of calories, 3% fat, 10% protein, low in sodium, high in fiber, 9 minerals, 10 vitamins.

Beans:

http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/c ... ut_edit.pl

Again, plenty of calories (662/cup), 1% fat, 20% protein, low in sodium, high in fiber, 10 minerals, 11 vitamins.

Let's compare with a Big Mac shall we:

http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/c ... ut_edit.pl

Plenty of calories (563/sandwich if you're wondering), 33% fat (by wt, not calories remember an ounce of fat has more calories than an ounce of protein or carbohydrate), 25% protein, 100 times the sodium of rice and beans, low in fiber, 9 minerals, 7 vitamins.

The poor eat at McDonalds because it tastes good and it is convenient, not because they can't afford to eat better. A 50 lb bag of rice is $56.29. There are 114 1 cup servings in there, each of which has the calories of a big mac with better nutritional content. Price of rice: $56.29/114= $0.49 per cup. Cost of Big Mac= $3.57. Even if you add in a little more money for the cost of preparation, you're still looking at 7 times the price.

I submit that one could eat rice and beans indefinitely, with vitamin supplementation, without ill health effects. It is awfully close to a complete food, and what isn't there can be supplied by a bottle of flintstones (Vit C in particular is found in neither rice, nor beans, but surprisingly is in a big mac)
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Post by White Coat Investor » Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:34 am

Rodc wrote:
Um, just to be clear, I was agreeing with you...
And just to be clear, you posted while I was typing so my response had nothing to do with yours. :)
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Post by Rodc » Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:36 am

EmergDoc wrote:
Rodc wrote:
Um, just to be clear, I was agreeing with you...
And just to be clear, you posted while I was typing so my response had nothing to do with yours. :)
Cool beans. :)
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Post by marie17 » Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:38 am

I think the thing that irks me the most is how much people spend on beverages -> and i'm not talking alchoholic beverages (although that is a problem too if you are struggling). Look at that NC family - how much soda do they buy? I was reading a post on another board from a woman trying to cut her grocery expenses, yet spent $100 a month on beverages (30% non-alchoholic, 70% alcohol). That is 1/3 of what I spend for an entire month for ALL food for my husband and myself. And we eat like kings - seafood, organic, the works.

If you want to save money and your budget is tight, you can be amazed at what you can do with your grocery budget. All this whining lately in the US about the price of food going up should hopefully get people to wake up to how they get suckered by the food marketing industry to pay more for novelty.

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Post by CA-boggler » Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:14 pm

marie17 wrote:I think the thing that irks me the most is how much people spend on beverages -> .
I agree.
Slide 6 "The Casales family of Cuernavaca" is probably the worst.
I count 12 2-liter bottles of coke and about 18 bottles of what must be beer (partially hidden behind a bowl).
I predict that family will soon be experiencing diabetes if it isn't already.

[political comments removed by admin alex]

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Post by samurai sam » Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:54 pm

Certainly you can't make people take what services are offered. I think a large part of the problem is education. Many people simply are not knowledgeable on the subject of diet. Other factors the pervasive proliferation of advertising, and the simple fact that many household are single parent/both parents working, and at the end of a strenuous day, no one is in the mood to cook meal ( let alone a healthy one ). Yes, that is something of an excuse, a little ingenuity could solve that problem ( cook up meals ahead of time on the weekend,etc. ).
I agree personal responsibility is ( should be ) a large factor in how people live their lives, however, people are born into a society that they have no control over. If they are raised from a young age with certain habits, it is very difficult to break them later. I believe we owe it to the young, who will make up our future societies to do a better job of educating them from an early age on the critical basics of life, and nutrition has to be one. As it stands now, they are up against Madison Avenue and the purveyors of "food porn", and most don't stand a chance.
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Post by retiredjg » Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:03 pm

I agree that brown rice and beans are a good combination and a huge contribution to nutrition that will sustain healthy life. Dry milk, on the other hand, may be another story. This is still controversial, but dry milk contains oxidized cholesterol which is atherogenic (causes hardening of the arteries). Bad juju, in my opinion, for people who may already be in less than perfect nutritional health.

The picture of the family in Chad was the most startling to me. I still think about it even though I looked at the link several days ago. And they looked pretty well fed. I wonder what the poorer people eat?

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Re: Food Stamps

Post by Shawn » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:07 pm

[political comments removed by admin alex]

That said, several years ago I tracked all of my purchases for an entire year. This included food and I was accurate to the penny. Not counting junk food, soda, and pet food, my food purchases were about $1200 for the year. With inflation, it might be $1500 today. I didn't do anything out of the ordinary to cut back, and I wasn't a big consumer of rice and beans. It's not difficult to live a moderately frugal lifestyle.

Back on topic, I think the original link is fascinating. There are both similarities (I wish I bought shares of Coca-Cola 100 years ago) and differences in how people around the world live. The "processed food" diet of the US and UK is telling. It's ironic that there appears to be an inverse correlation between standard of living and healthy diet.

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Post by isleep » Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:55 pm

Probably the biggest problem is the amount of processed sugar in the foods you can buy today. Even a simple can of pinto beans can be ladden with high-fructose corn syrup, or other nasties that the body wasn't meant to process in such high quantities that you find in the typical american diet. Next time you go to the stores, just try to find a loaf of bread that doesn't have any sugar, HFCS or similar stuff in it. You might find some that advertise themselves as having "natural sugar", but what's the point really? Bread doesn't need it, and so it goes with many other foods.

For health reasons, one is better off sticking as much as possible to unprocessed foods, but sometimes it does cost extra to get "real" food. And so you have to find an alternative or just adapt your diet, like say eating less bread and more oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain pasta, etc. It can be done, but somtimes it just isn't as convenient, and that's a big thing for americans. Convenience is King. We like to drive great distances to spend countless hours at mind-sucking jobs, eat whatever is available in vending machines, drink the coffee all day (with sugar, natch) and then drive all the way back home again only to load up on yummy junky "foodstuff". Until such time of course that diabetes sets in (and possibly other complications) and we're forced to finally start eating the way our bodies were accustomed to for millions of years prior.

Personally, I think everything started going to pot when the agricultural revolution came about (civilization as we know it), and things have just gone downhill faster in the last century. And I firmly belive this decline isn't simply limited to diet/health, but also overall hapiness. But I guess we're stuck with what we got.

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Post by retiredjg » Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:46 pm

isleep wrote:Bread doesn't need it, and so it goes with many other foods.
Isleep, I agree with your entire post. However, in the interest of accuracy, I believe most bread *does* need a little sugar - for the yeast to feed on to make the bread rise.... I don't know if yeast can use HFCS. It would surprise me. jg

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Post by Alex Frakt » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:37 am

I've had to remove or edit the majority of posts on this thread. I'd like to remind everyone of the forum posting guidelines.
Controversial, offensive, divisive or mean-spirited posts or topics may be locked, edited or deleted (with or without notice) at the discretion of the moderating staff even if they do not otherwise violate forum policies. This subforum has a much lower threshold for locking or removing posts than the financial and investing subforums.
Whining about other people's perceived shortcomings is likely to result in your post being removed. Especially if you are whining about people you have no direct knowledge of. Furthermore, opinions on (non-investing) governmental programs are political by their nature and are not appropriate anywhere on this forum.

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Post by greatcham » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:40 pm

There was a New York Times article a few months ago describing an experiment in eating from the local Dollar Store for a week, including a weekend dinner for guests. Entertaining!

I live in a very nice neighborhood, but there's a 99 Cents Only store five blocks away, which it's fun to pass by every few weeks to try my luck. My most recent triumph: 12 boxes of Ry-Krisp (15% of its price), a can of organic pumpkin, and two boxes of organic butternut squash soup, total of 15 bucks. Even if I cave and pick up a pound of very unhealthy cookies, I've only spent 99 cents for the junk. I confess the circumstances may be special: as a Scandinavian, I know beyond doubt that I will consume all the Ry-Krisp by its expiration date in 4 months. Seemingly, many merchandisers are trying to stock more upscale stuff and have to unload it when hip customers never follow through on their stated "demand."

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Post by Alex Frakt » Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:27 pm

greatcham wrote: I confess the circumstances may be special: as a Scandinavian, I know beyond doubt that I will consume all the Ry-Krisp by its expiration date in 4 months.
:) You ever score a case of smoked/pickled/salted fish?

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Post by mickeyd » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:01 pm

I was going to make some off the cuff remark about the lack of beer in these folks' diets, but I will save that for some other post.

When I look at the meager presentation of the Aboubakar family of Breidjing camp living on $1.23, I am reminded of a DVD that I recently saw on the Lost Boys of Sudan and how they struggled just to make it another day while wandering around Sudan in a group of over 20,000 for many years.

We could all do to share our abundance with those less fortunate.
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Post by taxman » Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:52 pm

What? :shock: ............is all I venture to say. IF its not taxed its eligiable for the food assistance programs in the US of A.

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