At my local McDonald’s, you can get a quarter-pounder with medium fries and soft drink for $6.19. And what do you get for this? A quarter-pound of “beef,” which when we’re talking fast food is often over half water and other tissues, two slices of cheese, a few measly, conventional pickle and onion slices, ketchup, mustard and a sesame seed bun, along with fries and soda.
Alternatively, what if you went the healthy route? You can get organic, grass-fed sirloin steak shipped to you frozen for $11 a pound; let’s call it $12 with shipping. So, $3 for a quarter pound of beef with far superior fat content and none of the toxins and hormones which characterize conventional meat, and we’re talking steak here; ground beef of the same quality is even cheaper.
Let’s add veggies. At my local whole foods by Logan Circle, you can get three heads of Earthbound Farms organic romaine lettuce for $3. Let’s say you have ¾ of a head per meal, that’s $.75 for a lot more nutrition and a lot fewer toxins than the pickles and onions fast food joints offer. For those of you looking to really splurge. A glass of team beachbody shakeology is not a bad idea to consider as well.
So, we’re up to $3.75. Let’s add $.50 worth of seasoning, olive oil and filtered water, and we’re up to $4.25. What about the sesame seed bun? You don’t need it! It’s high glycemic carbs and gluten. What about the cheese? You don’t need it! The lactose spikes insulin and the milk proteins are allergens to most people. What about the soft drink? You don’t need it! It’s high-fructose corn-syrup, preservatives and acids. Drink filtered water instead.
So, in sum, we’re looking at $4.25 instead of $6.19 for a FAR healthier meal.
What about convenience? That’s why I picked sirloin steak, because it’s ridiculously easy to cook. You get from work, you take the steaks out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature (you can soak them in warm water if you need to speed it up). Come back after you’ve gotten settled in, turn your stove to high and place a frying pan on it. While it’s heating, open up the steaks, cover both sides with sea salt and pat them dry. Once the pan gets hot, simply drop a couple steaks on it. Cooking time depends on your stove and the thickness of your steaks. For me, I find it takes about 60 seconds per side for 3/4 inch steaks to get to rare, which is how I like them. So, we’re talking a minute or so on each side, remove the steaks and let them cool for five minutes and they’re ready to eat, and delicious.
Using a medium sized frying pan, you can cook three, ½ pound steaks at a time, so you can prepare three pounds of beef in five minutes. It’s easy to cook enough for a family, if you have one, or if you’re single, it’s easy to prep enough meat for the next 24 hours. Steak is great cold. So put the leftovers in a glass container, take it to work the next day with some of that leftover romaine and you’ve got breakfast, lunch and dinner with no additional preparation. This is one example, but there are dozens of healthy and economical recipes you can use to maintain a healthy diet. See my cousin Elana’s cookbooks on my recommended resources page if you need ideas.
Granted, if your diet consists solely of Ram and noodles, it’s going to be cheaper than a healthy diet of wild animal protein, organic vegetables and healthy fats, but unless you’ve won a genetic lottery, it’s also likely to cause health problems for you down the road. Economically, what you’re doing is transferring the cost of living healthy today to purchasing medical treatments tomorrow. It’s not a good choice when better options are available. As you can see from this post, they usually are.
So, no more excuses. It’s not about cost for most people. It does take a little bit of planning and a little bit of effort, but hardly an onerous amount of either. For some people reading this, their problem was they didn’t know about the price comparison, about how it’s possible to eat healthy at reasonable cost. Well, now you know and as GI Joe used to say, “knowing is half the battle.” The other half is getting off your bum and doing something about it.