Comment 36353

By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted December 16, 2009 at 00:55:13

(This does fit in with the article. I'm going to tie it together at the end).

Re: that last video... come ON...

Emotional provocation at the expense of the facts is one of the things I find incredibly offensive in any area.

Within the first 20 seconds of that video, you see:

  • One: students shopping at Fortinos... there's a quarter of your problem price-wise, especially with your free university student bus pass to go anywhere and shop at any store.
  • The first two items: brand-name lunchmeat full of water and nitrates -- and white bread (at full price, not the half-price rack)

Those first two foods cost the exact same as a small jar of peanut butter and a loaf of whole-wheat bread... and if someone is truly trying to find nutritious food, that's what they'll buy, not that crap.

If one is in university, their little Crayola box is more than a few crayons short if they claim to be concerned about nutrition... and then the first things they reach for are white bread and baloney!

I'm very surprised that you'd excuse that kind of ignorance or promote that video as truly portraying people trying to find nutritious food.

The next two foods are fresh broccoli (frozen is half the price) and grape tomatoes (3 times the price of regular tomatoes for the same weight).

This is manipulation of the facts of what is available for that money, and promotion of ignorance as the norm.

What do you see next? Individual apples (worse than buying a bag), expensive oranges, a carton of milk instead of a bag that's far cheaper by unit price.

The cart goes on to show brand-name corn flakes (nutritionally poor), brand-name flavored yogurt, pre-packaged pre-peeled baby carrots), and LIGHT peanut butter. Give me a break.

Where's the leafy greens? Where's the frozen vegetables? Where's the whole grains? Where's any of the bulk items like flax seed or 12-grain cereal or soy? Where's the canned tuna or the dried beans or the lean meat?

The solution isn't just more money - it's teaching people how to PREPARE foods and UNDERSTAND nutrition... and especially among university students, it's not acceptable to say they're incapable of preparing it or learning the skills how to. It's not rocket science, but that video is just manipulative and foods were likely intentionally chosen for their shock value.

This is simply a video showing how ignorant the makers (or their portrayal) was of HOW to buy nutritious food on a budget, not qualitative proof that it's impossible.

I'm very, very surprised that you're so opposed to the idea of educating people about nutrition. Sure, more money can be part of the solution, but without SKILLS it continues to go into more non-nutritious food. It's lunacy to think that people who are used to a diet of pizza, KD, and convenience food will suddenly start shelling out for the Good Food Box or be thrilled they can finally buy enough baby spinach instead of lettuce. Those nutritional habits don't change just by giving people more money.

But especially when people claim to be concerned about nutrition, and say they're trying to eat well, and still buy crap... the wider problem is that we live in a culture where it's acceptable to know nothing about food, because the common train of thought is that we should all be rich enough to buy whatever the heck we want, including food prepared for us and made to be nutritious without us thinking about it...

Cuz gosh geez, how d'you expect 19-year-olds to figure that out all by themselves? Not like they're adults or anything... or got into university or anything! The low expectations of students - and your low expectations of poor people no matter their age - just stagger me.

Not that it's uncommon - I was helping a friend of mine last night from Mississauga to figure out how to prepare nutritious meals - she's graduated from university, grown up affluent, and just never had to bother with it even when teaching overseas. But now she's trying to figure it out in her mid-twenties, and guess who she talks to?

But if you have less money, you're not in a place to be able to buy convenience food and still get nutrition -- or to expect that as a right.

Nutrition should be expected, convenience comes at a price, and you can't say everyone has an equal right to convenience. I sure don't. But that's okay, because I still eat well, even if it takes me a few extra seconds in the day.

We've completely abandoned thrift as an ideal or the thought that hard work has any value in itself, and that deeply disturbs me... especially when that laziness transfers to something as important as food and intelligent people pursuing a university education claim they can't get nutritious food... and all the while they're picking the white bread and baloney and shopping at Fortinos.

So now let me try to articulate why this fits in with this topic:

Re: the title of this article... this issue seriously makes me mad, and that's why I help people in practical ways with this stuff. If they want to learn, great. If I can help, awesome.

I'm not a professional in food preparation, but I do know nutrition, and I learned very simply - making recipes as a kid, learning how to make food for myself in university living with roomates, in recent years using more recipe websites and correlating everything with the nutrition, coaching, and health information I've learned at different parts in my education, but it's all fairly basic stuff no matter where you go.

And usually the only way for people to learn that something is possible is if they SEE people who are in the same boat as them making it. And seeing everyone around you buying crap doesn't help you think that buying groceries on a budget is possible.

And if the message from well-meaning people like grassroots is all "oh, how horrible it is! you're so powerless, nothing can be done! especially if you're a student/on welfare/on OSAP/in _________ type of situation" it just reinforces helplessness! And if all you see are bad examples like that video, then what motivation does someone have to try and change the situation? what motivation does someone ACTUALLY have to try and buy nutritious food, because they've just been told it's impossible?

It's not impossible, and I'm sick of this defeatist garbage about how someone like me should be eating crap instead of what CAN be done on a budget, even when you're already pulling 60-70 hour weeks of work and getting groceries in a few spare minutes a few times a month.

Do you know how cheap it is to make mirepoix and freeze a huge Tupperware of it for use over several months? It may not be as top-notch as continually preparing it fresh, but you can do next to anything starting with that stuff.

Why not make a video of ten examples of people in Hamilton who ARE able to live on that amount of money a month, DO eat nutritious, lively, and varied meals, and can SHOW others how it's done..... and let it inspire people? Instead of re-posting that poorly constructed piece of drivel that just discourages them? I'm so sick of this defeatist "Poor Us! Help Us! We're Totally Lost!" mentality instead of starting with the things people can change and helping them to take control of their lives.

[Comment edited by Meredith on 2009-12-15 23:57:51]

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