Monday kickoff: maybe a healthy diet isn't so expensive
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/suckamc/ Some rights reserved.
It's been a good couple of weeks for the Mediterranean diet. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine confirmed what seems like a no-brainer at this point: a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and olive oil is really good for you. Eating that way can reduce your risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases by 30%.
Another study released last week brought even more interesting news. That diet doesn't have to break the bank. Dr. Mary Flynn designed a six-week cooking class using the more humble ingredients in the Mediterranean diet. She skipped the fish and wine and instead focused on fruits and vegetables available at a local food bank. According to a summary in The Atlantic:
Once the classes ended, the participants were followed for an additional six months, during which they reported consuming more meals based on Flynn's diet — three or more per week — and a greater amount and variety of fruits and vegetables. Their grocery lists, which the researchers collected and analyzed, show that they started stocking up on fresh fruits and vegetables and, as a seemingly natural consequence, purchasing significantly less meat, soda, dessert and snack foods.
The big knock on the whole and local foods movement has been price. It's hard for a few carrots and celery to compete with a box of macaroni & cheese in terms of sheer caloric intake and primal taste satisfaction (see our write-up of Salt Sugar Fat). And many whole foods stores and coops are pricy (I know people in Burlington who have taken to calling the city's coop-y market – City Market - "Shi**y Mark-up".
But as interest in healthy eating grows, as an answer to the obesity epidemic, as children are exposed to healthier foods in the school cafeteria, smart people will come up with ways to be healthy and thrifty at the same time. This is just one study, but it provides hope that the keys to good eating are not just available to the wealthy.
Tags: cooking, food, fruit, health, mondaykickoff, obesity, science, vegetables