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Can We Find Accessibly Priced Real-Food?

I’ve often heard the witty complaint: “It’s not Whole Foods; it’s Whole Paycheck”. I’ve indulged in the Whole Foods experience enough to know that this can be the case. The Chow blog shares the results of their investigative shopping experiment:

“Our run for “regular” groceries at the local Safeway came to $136.31, typical for a week’s worth of our groceries (and some leftovers). The total for the organic groceries was $199.78, about $65 more. And remember, organic food comes in smaller packages. Using these rough numbers, eating purely organic would cost us about $260 more per month.” (Source)

$260 more per month would certainly be cost prohibitive for many! However, this conjecture balances upon a modern foundation — one that may prove to be rickety: we should spend less than 10% of our overall income on food.

“Consider that in 1932, spending on food at home took almost 22% of disposable income, compared to the record low of only 5.6% in 2008.” (Source)


Might it be that we can afford relatively “expensive” real-food if we prioritize nutrition over entertainment and ease? Has our culture decided that accessibility to technology, cell phones, cable television, video games (dare I add cigarettes and alcohol, for many) are more important than real-food? Might this upside-down priority pyramid be reinforced by the addictive quality of inexpensive processed foods made from seemingly infinite variations of (for the most part) two government-subsidized ingredients: corn and petroleum?

Purchasing real-food can feel like a squeeze. In response to this, we must recognize that nutrition and health are list-toppers, bar none! As I wrote in In Response to Coca-Cola Anti-Obesity Campaign,

“The pharmaceutical consequences of consuming GMOs, as well as other substances disguised as food (i.e. high fructose corn syrup) may result in prohibitive healthcare costs for the very same families who feel threatened by rising food costs!”

Despite its reputation for being prohibitively expensive, real-food is not always as expensive as the nay-sayers would have us believe. While I pray that our culture rediscovers the importance of real-food to the extent that we are willing to pay for it, there are few barriers to uncovering inexpensive real-food!

Join me in my tour of Berkeley, California’s Monterey Market.


Oh my goodness, there is produce everywhere… literally. Think you can’t get organic, California grown avocados and berries in the winter? Think again!


Behind me in the check-out line is a lady with a full cart of produce. She shares: “I come all the way from Hercules to get my groceries here. It’s so much more fresh than anything in my local markets.”


Why do I feel more healthy and eco-friendly, just by being in the market?

  • The two-foot tall mounds of swiss chard, perhaps?
  • The largest bulk-food selection I have ever laid eyes on?
  • The absence of turbo-sanitized, lemme eat some pesticides, bleached-just-this-morning supermarket luster?
  • Maybe it’s the sensation that fellow shoppers are my people: hard-working, urban-homestead-bound foodies of all shapes, ages and income levels?

As I come down from my real-food high, it is appropriate to make a sobering statement: for those without income, real-food is indeed cost-prohibitive. And yet, real-food resources abound. Too name a few:

  • Homefullness is an organization focused on providing resources to homeless individuals,

“Located on the grounds of the Gateway Shelter for Men, Homefull’s Micro Farm boasts  over 160 raised beds, growing fresh produce.” (Source)

  • Endlessly Organic is an organization that offers organic produce to families who may not otherwise have produce in the kitchen.
  • Earthbound Farm Organic donates organic produce to local schools and hospitals. (Source)
  • Organic Valley offers grants, cash, and food donations. (Source)

Ultimately, I’m making three statements in response to three questions today:

  1. Can we find accessibly priced real-food? YES!
  2. Should we re-prioritize such that a larger percentage of our budget is available for real-food? YES!
  3. As our culture re-discovers the vitality of real-food, is there market space for creative innovation in the real-food movement? HECK YES!!!

Thank you for reading, beautiful people! I appreciate your support and feedback. Consider following the Biocadence blog by entering your email address and clicking “subscribe”, in the upper right of the Biocadence homepage. Squeeze hugs!

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In Response to Coca Cola Anti-Obesity Campaign

Answer honestly: Do advertisements urge you to desire a featured product?

I am not immune to alluring images of the fried, the greasy, and the otherwise dripping yumminess. For this, amongst other reasons, I choose advertisement-free Netflix over cable. I don’t need any more cravings than I tolerate organically, thank you very much!


Picture Source: Fighting Cravings Effectively in a Natural Way

This week @Disarm tweeted:

#Coca-Cola Launches Anti-Obesity Ad. Are we the only ones who think this campaign is obscene?  @time #PublicHealth“.

I bet I’ll agree, I thought, as I linked to the article. Against all protective self-advisement, I watched the referenced Coca Cola advertisement. I refuse to embed the video here because I fancy myself generous and compassionate.

Coca Cola’s “Anti-Obesity” campaign features lower calorie options, suggesting that Coca Cola’s low-cal initiative is responsible for decreasing the calorie count for the entire beverage industry. After watching the advertisement, I felt the hankering to arrive at a wildly illogical conclusion. In spite of myself, my wit… my health… my sanity… I thought that incorporating Coca Cola products into my daily lifestyle could be healthy! Thank goodness, the spell was broken by a dose of fact-checking followed by boundary-prompting anger!

I do not want Coca Cola in my house, in my mind, in my mouth… yet the advertisement knocked on my welcoming Oh-Just-This-Once door. I willed myself into a practice that I’ve rehearsed, and exercised: I closed my eyes, breathed, and let the temptation pass. Subsequent thoughts and images flashed my mind screen. One might say they are unrelated to the advertisement. I share them because I think that they are not only related, but enmeshed:

“Oh my goodness gracious, Prop 37 didn’t pass.”

“Many hard-working, well-intending people were convinced that a triumphant Prop 37 would lead to prohibitive rises in food prices.”

“The pharmaceutical consequences of consuming GMOs, as well as other substances disguised as food (i.e. high fructose corn syrup) may result in prohibitive healthcare costs for the very same families who feel threatened by rising food costs!”

After thoroughly absorbing these thoughts, I felt mad. I embraced a form of pissed-off that I welcome: the Oh Hell No, I’m Not Drinking Cola Today element of anger… the I get to choose what I feed my body FREEDOM ROAR.


Picture Source: Some Pissed Off Babies

Am I a madwoman for craving the Cola? Have I swooped over one too many coo coo’s nests? While that may be the case, my weakness for (or addiction to) imitation food, alone, does not serve as evidence.

I expect that Coca Cola analysts (with the help of contracted ad company analysts… the Don Drapers of our time) researched which campaign focus was worthy of budget. They concluded that such a high % of their audience would be weaseled by the low calorie trickery, that it was worth funding the project! I suspect that the audience vulnerable to this trickery (including me, for more than one instant, [your favorite expletive]), is the very audience that believed Prop 37 might hurt them.

Don Draper, of Mad Men, Played by Jon Hamm

Don Draper, of Mad Men, Played by Jon Hamm

Picture Source: Television Blog

For this, I feel motivated. The real-food revolution is reaching more open minds by the day! In turn, the affordable real-food curriculum is growing. Momentum continue, I say… upward, forward, onward, and around… until we saturate every fridge, kitchen, and tummy with empowering accessibility to real-food! In the meantime, let us understand that we are indeed human. We are not immune to the Pavlovian impact of drool-inducing advertising! We can, however, design our lives such that we minimize triggers. Avoid the ads; turn the television off! As Jack Johnson writes, “[…] you better turn that thing down; turn it around.” Sing it Mr. Johnson, sing it!

Thanks for reading! Squeeze hugs and craving tolerance from Annie at Biocadence.

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