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Hi again. In part 1 “Diet Made Simple Part I”, I noted that nutrition ultimately comes down to natural eating and taking some time every few days to prepare yourself and your family for the week to come of healthy eating. This article is not meant to provide an example of a good diet profile at all. This is comparing the better choices that can be made on a set budget. I wanted to take the most basic approach to comparing 2 different grocery lists on an extremely limited budget that boils down to approximately $2.55 a day on food. Admittedly, there is a minor cost in time and I am also willing to bet that the additional time taken to prepare natural food ahead of time will make a profound difference and your and your families’ health. With off setting the time it would take to make a prepared meal or even going to the drive thru I will safely say that an additional 4 – 5 hours of time is needed and again I will stress the component that health is at stake.

My Experience

I used to be the quintessential bachelor living off (and this is not an exaggeration) a 30 oz. box of Goldfish crackers, ranch dressing, cheese singles and white bread with the occasional $1.72 cappuccino from the hospital cafeteria. I would not eat breakfast or lunch and gorge myself on a combination of the unhealthy items mentioned above for dinner. This was before I had any interest in nutrition and while not living paycheck to paycheck, definitely not able to stash a significant amount of currency in the bank account. Here is a rough look at that food bill

Goldfish

$6.48

Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing, 24 Fluid Ounce Bottle

$3.88

Great Value White Enriched Bread, 18 oz

$2.88

Kraft Singles American Cheese Slices, 24 count

$3.92

For at total of $17.16, I was arguably effectively feeding myself every week. However, at the time, this also included trips to the bar and cigarettes which with a rough low ball estimate was costing me $130.00 per week. With hindsight, there was an obvious lapse in budgeting. However, living healthy was not a primary focus at the time and so my funds were being appropriated as such. What makes me snicker most now… for $18.18, I could have been purchasing…

Great Value Solid White Albacore Tuna In Water, 5 oz

$1.18 x 7 = $8.26

$1.43

banana

 

$0.67 x 7 = $4.69

$3.80

No doubt that the latter grocery list is not an even close to perfect nutrition profile but most definitely better than the processed list off which I was essentially living (my Saturday treat was a $6.98 turkey, cheese, lettuce and mayonnaise sub from the local sub shop after my overtime at the hospital)

Some of the statistics

Basic Profile List 1 List 2
Protein 288.7 495.8
Fat 598.8 (157.8 Saturated) 507.3 (76.6 Saturated)
Carbohydrate 1,205.6 948.8
Sugars 116.9 180.4
Calories 11,540.9 9,760

As I like to, I want to keep the analysis simple.

Calories: 1,780 calorie difference equates to a loss of 1 pound loss every other week without any additional activity. Off a suggestion from someone, I changed shelled peanuts to peanuts in the shell and discovered an additional 800 calorie deficit in the same database (Will definitely be researching that a bit more).

Sugars: So “List 2”, on the surface, seems to be worse and overall it is. However, 155.3 of those grams of sugar are from more natural and unprocessed foods (peanuts and bananas) and additionally offer 90.6 grams of fiber in those foods which alone is just shy of the recommended 15 grams daily. Fiber is crucial in digestion and speaking from my current diet that is rich in fruit and peanuts (hey, they’re what I like to eat) can attest to the idea that processed sugars have a much more negative effect on my body than do the natural sugars.

Carbohydrate: To be fair, “List 2” actually falls short of the recommended daily carbohydrate intake for a 2,000 calorie diet and for an athlete probably would not be sufficient and “List 1” is better for satiation in theory. There is a better balance of carbohydrate and natural sugars in “List 2”.

Fat: We all need fat in our diets and the two lists are comparable except for the saturated fat which raises our “bad” LDL (low density lipoprotein) of which the advantage most certainly goes to “List 2” at 81.2 grams less which over the week is 10.9 less grams a day which is less than the daily recommended amount according to the American Heart Association.

Protein: At 70.8 grams daily, “List 2” is a more effective shopping list (although not close to optimal) and from personal and current experience more than meets needs.

Summary

I have a simple approach to activity and nutrition. It never has to be complicated and time is often a constraint. Families, jobs, social and charity obligations can often keep us away from paying attention to with what our bodies are being fueled. I want this to be an example of how with just the smallest amount of attention to what we buy at the grocery store can reap benefits for our health. It’s not about making drastic changes that make a difference. It’s about making changes that can be managed and implemented over the long haul.

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