Fat and Not Afraid

Respect and love are for EVERY body.

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Eating Healthy IS Expensive!

March 5, 2012

A headline caught my eye the other day and I just now tracked down the rest of the story; eating healthy food IS expensive, often out of the reach of families on assistance of any kind. The Tyee, a local BC paper, is running an excellent story right now on the latest Cost of Eating Report from the Dieticians of Canada. It's excellent because it points out that not only is healthy food expensive (well over $800 a month for a family of four), but time-consuming to make (avoid the comments for the typical "learn to cook!" garbage), and this disporportionately affects people in remote communities and/or those who are on income assistance (usually the same people. Well hello, kyriarchy!)

"The 2009 Cost of Food report found that in the average B.C. city, $16.05 would get you four litres of milk, one loaf of bread, one pound of apples and 10 pounds of potatoes. In a remote community, those items would cost $34.85, 177 per cent more. The combination of higher food prices and fewer stores with fresh healthy options has been linked to higher rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes seen in B.C.'s northern and remote communities that are effectively food deserts." (I'd like to see one of these food desert maps in Canada! I guarantee you most of those deserts will be on reserve land and other remote communities.)

It's good to see someone official connecting the dots here and the story getting so much attention, at least in BC. It's not the obesity that can lead some people to disease, it's eating crap food all the time. That's the only point that's missing.


I agree that everyone deserves access to a wide range of affordable food, though not so much that there are specifically 'healthy' or 'unhealthy' foods. I also am constantly peeved/amused to see how everyone insists on listing 'obesity' along with diabetes & heart disease, as if 'obesity' is a disease & as if anyone who 'suffers from obesity' will of course have diabetes &/or heart disease.

I am from a fat family & a poor family. I have lived a fair amount of my life at or below the poverty level, as have my parents, grandparents, cousins, etc. We have always been somewhat limited in exactly what we could buy, how much we could spend on food, though most of us have been able to cook (not everyone is a good cook & not everyone has the time to cook &, contrary to popular belief, there are people for whom learning to cook well is as hard as learning to sew or paint the Mona Lisa is for some of the rest of us). We have & have had a lot of fat people in my family, we have eaten a lot of starchy, fatty food, sugars, whatever else people love to demonize, though I must say that we have always been able to include some foods from all groups & would also like to point out that a lot of the demonized foods are a lot more nutritious than they are given credit for...potatoes, for instance, are not only the most widely-available & frequently eaten vegetable, but also one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables, enough so that, if it were necessary (not advisable to be that limited), you could live & stay quite healthy on potatoes, milk, & perhaps a little oatmeal &/or beef. Ironically, my poor working class family who supposedly does not 'eat right' & which has & has had a lot of fat members (people who are related who are built alike...Imagine THAT!), we are generally, especially on my mother's side, a long-lived group, living well into our late 80's to mid-90's, with one great aunt reaching 101, having no more health problems than average & for many of us, myself included up to age 62 so far, many fewer health issues than average. And we have very little incidence of diabetes or heart disease in our family, it is not part of our genetic inheritance. Nevertheless, so many people, especially so many 'experts', would have us believe that virtually NO ONE would have diabetes or heart disease if only we were all thin & had at least $800 per month to spend on food.


i have severe mental health problems and am unable to work. i am sustained on social security disability. i don't really get enough to buy much food so rely on my town's food pantry which is excellent. i hardly ever have fresh fruits and vegetables and exist mainly on canned soups and pasta. i'm not able to cook. but thank goodness for the food pantry. i was glad to see your post because it seems this is not mentioned much in the fatosphere. thank you for the post and bringing this topic up.


Patsy: I love potatos. I grew up hearing that their skins were full of minerals and nutrients that other veggies just don't have, so now I cook with the skins on as much as possible. Maybe tonight I'll make home fries! Thanks for sharing your family's story here.

Dogwatcher: I'm glad that you have access to a food pantry and that it gives you nutritious food. There are several programs here in Nanaimo I'm aware of that do similar things, maybe I'll highlight them later this week. Thanks for commenting.


Yes, healthy, organic food can be pricy. But you can easily augment these by growing your own fruit and vegetables. It's actually quite easy to be healthy and in shape - no matter who you are. It just takes a bit of effort to change your lifestyle.


This is really interesting. One thing that always bothers me about these discussions of whether or not nutritious food is cheap is also the fact that they often seem to calculate the cost of food based on VOLUME of food, and not calories. If you take caloric density into account then, yes, traditionally high-calorie "unhealthy" foods are going to be more cost-effective. Because humans aren't stupid - they know that a bunch of vegetables will fill them up temporarily, but they'll be hungry by bedtime, since they are mostly water and fibre.

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