Monday, April 9, 2012
We spend very little on food in the US. Prices have risen over the last decade, but are still much lower than they were in the 1900s. "The West Wing" touched on the fact that food used to be a much larger portion of a family's budget than it is now. The didn't get the facts of Mollie Orshansky's life right, though. Food costs have dropped with the advent of more efficient farming. Factory farming has lowered the cost even further.
At the same time that food was getting cheaper, we were spending more and more money on health care. It may not be a direct cause and effect, but it's more than just a correlated relationship. People are eating foods that are not good for us, and are able to eat them in larger quantities than we did in the past. Items that used to be rare treats because of the cost are now regular items because they can be.
Everything that we consume affects our body and our health, even if we don't see that effect immediately. No one is expecting anyone to eat perfectly 100% of the time. If you can eat healthful, whole foods 90-95% of the time, you'll be fine. Your body can deal with 5% ice cream, Cheetos and frozen burritos. Don't deny yourself treats completely, but try to have a diet that you wouldn't be embarrassed to admit in public.