The “Dollars and Sense” of eating…

Some good news and some bad news

If you factor in the real cost of environmental damage and health care, a diet of whole plants is a huge bargain.

Many people have the idea that it costs much more to eat a healthy diet. Well, yes and no. Unfortunately, if you compare the cost of a calorie of fast food fare with the cost of a huge salad of greens, tomatoes, and broccoli; the healthier option does cost more — per calorie. But if you are serious about trying to eat a healthy diet, then the news is much better.

In my case, I typically prepare all of my breakfast and lunch meals at home and then go out for dinner almost every night. For me, eating a whole plants kind of diet is a bargain. My weekly grocery bill averages $56 and I prepare 14 meals…so that works out to an average of $4 per meal. Then, for my evening meal in a local restaurant, they average about $10 compared to the typical “meat & dairy” entree which runs about $20.

So, here’s the way I look at it; by eating this way, I save $70 a week eating out and spend a total of $56 on groceries…so I am up $14 every week. Spending a total of $126 a week, my monthly eating bill is a little over $500. I doubt that most of my meat-eating friends are dining that efficiently.

Sadly, there is another part of this “dollars and sense” story that is not very pretty. It’s the lack of opportunity for the low wage folks living in the inner city. Oftentimes, they don’t even have access to fresh produce and so spend their money on the cheapest and most filling calories they can find. And that would be fast food or highly processed foods at their nearest grocer. What is the answer to this dilemma?

A huge part of the problem is the government subsidies that go to the meat and dairy industry…about 75% of the total. On the other hand, the government recommends in the food guidelines that we eat more fruits and vegetables while spending less than one percent of the subsidy money on those highly nutritious foods. Makes no “sense,” right?But, with the massive food lobbies and special interests solidly entrenched, this situation is not likely to change anytime soon.

J. Morris Hicks -- eating a near-optimal health-promoting diet for $500 a month

But a pretty good start would be the realization by the more affluent and educated, that we simply do not “need” any animal protein in our diet. On the contrary, it is linked to many of our chronic diseases. As this realization gradually takes place, there will be some big changes in the way we eat in this country…not unlike the cigarette smoking that went from ubiquitous to “uncool” in about a 40 year span.

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at

PS: Occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard. 

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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