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Old 05-16-2013, 09:23 PM   #61
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Z - you make some very good points.
What do you think is was that allowed you to get out of the cycle of poor food choices and be able to "go the extra mile" towards healthy decisions?

What do you think would be the best way to spur people who live in difficult economic circumstances to overcome the difficulties and start taking control of their health, and to frankly work harder than upper middle class people have to, in order to be healthy?
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:50 PM   #62
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And if we want to follow this train of thought all the way down; there are people for whom affording a package of ramen noodles is the line between hunger and satiety. There are people who will not always afford to eat anything at all. Some of those people starve to death.

I am no stranger to raising a family in abject poverty. I live in an apartment that has rained raw sewage on me. Three times this year. That doesn't exactly go under 'first world problems', eh? I subsisted almost entirely on ramen noodles for 15 years. 6 packages a day. It got me to a place where I was too fat to walk.
Yeah those Ramen soups have like around 400 calories and 52 carbs. I used to eat those because they were quick and easy to make and since they seemed like a small serving I thought they were not that bad till I started low carb woe and learned a lot.

When I first moved here I deliberately went without a car for the first 3yrs forcing myself to have to walk or catch the bus everywhere which involved walking too because buses never let you off right in front of where you want to go. I was so used to NOT walking that I knew the only way to make myself walk more was if I had no car. I used to walk to the store and back and walk to work too plus I was low carbing. Then when my job changed buildings I had to ride my bike to and from work 6 miles 1 way so that was 12 miles a day. I dropped a lot of weight doing that! I have a car now but I still go out walking every day before or after work and I always park far from the door of where ever I go to fit in some walking too.

Before low carbing I used to park as close to the doors as I could get and used to drive everywhere even if it was 2 houses down. LOL! I was not able to walk much or far at all before, now I can walk all day.
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Old 05-17-2013, 12:03 AM   #63
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Z - you make some very good points.
What do you think is was that allowed you to get out of the cycle of poor food choices and be able to "go the extra mile" towards healthy decisions?

What do you think would be the best way to spur people who live in difficult economic circumstances to overcome the difficulties and start taking control of their health, and to frankly work harder than upper middle class people have to, in order to be healthy?
I think it is a very personal thing. I reached a breaking point where I could no longer bear to go on the way I was. It wasn't until the kids were out of the house that I was able to find the time to focus on myself enough to make the change. I was in a deep depression, and I hit a point where I knew that I needed to make a change - or there would be no point in continuing to live.

Again, I don't want to think of it as a moral imperative. I believe with all such endeavors - drastic, life changing decisions - you have to want it so much, that you will work to make it possible. You have to want it so much, that you are willing to deny yourself other things that you also want - things attainable in the short term.

High carb can be cheaper, but the kind of high carb diet we see so often among the impoverished often relies heavily on foods which are convenient - rather than cost effective. A bag of dollar burgers for a family of 5 - two apiece - is $10. That will often buy a 3 pound round roast. Add a case of coke to the mix - another $12, and you're looking at enough to get into 8-10 pounds of meat. It's hard to plan meals ahead, in bulk. But cooking at home is almost always cheaper than eating out. Again, there is an economy of scale that comes into play when you make the move to primal cuts. The hardest part is budgeting. Delaying gratification. Cooking instead of relaxing. Doing something instead of doing nothing. That's not sarcasm - I love doing nothing.

If you can't afford to cook even the most meager cuts, and you are living entirely on starch - there's no shame in that. But then, we're all here on the Internet - which implies a certain degree of flexibility in our budgets.

For me, it became possible when I identified and cut out the things I didn't need. Soda, cable, cab and bus fare, junk food, fast food, sugar, juice, fruit, beer, cigarettes, nights at the bar, amazon expenditures, et cetera.

It's never easy, and for some it is prohibitive - but when you commit to a change like this, you will go the extra mile to find a way to make it possible. I believe that the only way for someone to make the kind of sacrifices it takes - is for them to come to that place on their own. All we can do is provide an example for others to follow.
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:26 PM   #64
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Now, this is timely. I just started reading my alumni magazine, which is all about food this time. Here is a page about a fellow alum, president of a Texas college in a poor community, and what he's done to help address the food desert in his backyard.
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:43 PM   #65
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This is a terrific discussion.
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:07 PM   #66
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Now, this is timely. I just started reading my alumni magazine, which is all about food this time. Here is a page about a fellow alum, president of a Texas college in a poor community, and what he's done to help address the food desert in his backyard.
That is BEAUTIFUL! I am quite emotional right now after reading it. "WE not ME." Lovely!

Initiatives like that truly change lives -- they SAVE lives. Two of my uncles, who were competitive bodybuilders, built my uncle's garage into a gym and they got a lot of the neighborhood boys into natural bodybuilding in order to teach them self-esteem and respect for their bodies, including performance nutrition and the importance of avoiding drugs. Not only did it give those kids enough confidence and strength to stay away from gangs and street crime, it also taught them tremendous academic and lifestyle discipline. So a lot of guys I grew up with -- who had parents who were habitual drug users and who spent their childhoods often not knowing where their next meal was coming from -- now have graduate degrees in physiology or social work or education. And there's a surprisingly large number of engineers (I'm not actually sure why).

My trainer, who is now a professional bodybuilding coach with degrees in physiology and sports nutrition, is a childhood friend that my uncles worked with in their homemade gym -- my uncles called the kids "trainees." So when I decided to go on a diet, my buddy volunteered to train me for free -- donating 5 days a week of his time to help me, as a way of paying my uncles back. He says my uncles kept him from getting a bullet in the brain or spending the majority of his life in prison. He's not exaggerating. We know a lot of the same people, so we know dudes who have been shot or who have shot somebody.
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:49 AM   #67
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If you search The Food Trust in Philadelphia you will learn about a coalition of initiatives to provide access to healthy foods for those who don't have access to high nutritional or whole foods. Great program !
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Old 05-18-2013, 09:13 AM   #68
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Every morning I drop my son off at our fairly affluent neighborhood high school and see the food the kids are carrying. It appears to be (and my son says it usually is) some kind of homemade food. Maybe a muffin, or a wrap, often fruit smoothies or sometimes sandwiches on whole wheat bread.

Then I drive by the "poor" high school in the next town over on my way to work. I pass child after child (at least 50% of them severely overweight) eating a bag of chips and drinking a big plastic bottle of soda for breakfast (or after breakfast snack maybe if a parent fed them at home).

Then I get to my school where the really poor kids go. I mean poor like a family of 7-10 living on the pay of one or maybe two farm laborers. There you see homemade food again. Probably not free-range organic stuff like the affluent school, but homemade tortillas, scrambled eggs, fruit and vegetables.

Just from outward appearance and gross generalization, the "regular" poor kids are spending WAY more on their breakfast than either of the other groups. The town doesn't have food desert issues, the kids had to walk by 2-3 mercados and regular grocery stores to get the the 7-11 where they bought the crap.

Why does this happen? I can safely say all groups of parents love their children. There are different levels of education, but the very poor parents I talk to (many of whom didn't make it out of elementary school in Mexico) know that there children need good food to be healthy. We may differ slightly on exactly what that means, but no one thinks processed food is they way to go. Besides, they are too poor for processed food. The kids that are buying soda and chips are probably spending $3 a day on that stuff. That same $3 could buy beans and rice for a family for a week.

It seems to me (in a small town in CA where there are plenty of shopping options) that the very, very poor eat whole, fresh foods because they know it is good for them AND it is all they can afford. There is usually a mom or an extended family member in the house that isn't working outside the home.

The "medium" poor eat a lot of processed junk because it tastes good and it is convenient. I am sure they know it isn't good for them, but other issues take precedence. Kids have more spending money and less supervision. I see many single moms or families with both parents working and far fewer multigenerational households in this "group." Older siblings take care of younger ones and they are much more likely to make a package of ramen than a stew like a grandma would. The kids get themselves up and off to school and eat cereal or junk food because there is no one home to make breakfast.

The affluent are closer to the very poor in their habits. They may buy their groceries at Whole Foods, but they are buying many of the same types of things as the very poor. Mom may work, but she isn't going to a bakery or cleaning a hospital at 6:00 am so someone is home to supervise what the kids are eating before they go to school.

I find the whole subject very interesting. We will continue our national decline in health until we can get to the bottom of why people eat the junk they do and make sustainable changes. I don't think it is solely lack of good shopping options, because if the demand was there, the stores would be there (and in my area the stores are there, but people eat the junk from 7-11 too). I don't know what the answer is.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:10 AM   #69
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Gina, I think that's a very interesting observation, and points to so many factors in food choices.

Trillex, I agree, I love his approach, and my second thought was can you imagine the cojones it took to plow under a football field at a Texas college?!

Honestly, this whole magazine issue is fascinating to me. I'm really enjoying reading about so many of my fellow alums' involvement in food issues, food justice, food preparation, etc. My brother and his girlfriend are visiting from Boston; she and I both went to Oberlin college, though about ten years apart, so she was flipping through the magazine and saw his picture. Turns out they were friends. Life is funny.
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Old 05-18-2013, 12:36 PM   #70
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We will continue our national decline in health until we can get to the bottom of why people eat the junk they do and make sustainable changes. I don't think it is solely lack of good shopping options, because if the demand was there, the stores would be there (and in my area the stores are there, but people eat the junk from 7-11 too). I don't know what the answer is.
Your insights point out some of the deeper levels of complexity that surround this issue. One of the interesting things that I noticed in one of the studies that I posted to this thread earlier is that the bodegas in areas of New York City that primarily serve new immigrant populations generally have what the researchers call "healthy bodegas," which carry more fresh foods and more non-processed staple foods than the bodegas in comparably poor areas that have a different cultural background.
Although the effects of acculturation on diet are mixed, it appears that less acculturated individuals, recent immigrants who comprise these study neighborhoods, consume less fast food, snacks, sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages and added fats and they consume more rice, beans and fruit (see review by Ayala etal., 2008) and generally, Latino residents living in neighborhoods with higher proportions of immigrants report better access to healthy food (Osypuk etal., 2009).

Measuring food deserts in New York City's low-income neighborhoods.
Measuring food deserts in New York City's low-i... [Health Place. 2011] - PubMed - NCBI
This is just my personal opinion, but I believe the food that a person thinks is *good* greatly depends on their cultural background. Both of my parents are Caribbean immigrants -- my dad's vegan so that complicates things in weird ways -- but my mom is "jibara" (a country person) from Puerto Rico and so I grew up cooking my own "sofrito" (the basic seasoning of Puerto Rican cuisine) from scratch. I would never consider buying sofrito in the jar because the processed sofrito doesn't taste *right* to me. But I had a lot of Puerto Rican friends in college, whose families have been in the US longer than my family, and many of them didn't even know that sofrito could be made from scratch. I actually had a conversation about this with one of my good friends in college and he said that, to him, homemade sofrito was what his grandmother made back in Puerto Rico because they were too poor to buy it in the store.

When I started Atkins, I was the only obese person in my family -- including cousins and extended family. When I went to college, I moved *up* a social class and moved from eating rice and peas and roasted meat that my mother cooked to eating take-out for every meal (this is my choice, I'm not blaming society). My family is currently pretty fit and slim -- this metric is somewhat complicated by my vegan dad and my brothers and cousins who are bodybuilders -- but I think the next generation of our family will have a lot more cases of obesity in adulthood because they are a further step away from our traditional practice of eating simple, unprocessed foods. My sisters in law cook with sofrito in the jar -- unless it's a special occasion -- because they have demanding jobs.
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:31 PM   #71
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I feel for you. In this economy buying food creates such stress, then add in needing to eat on a diet, worse and having more than 2 adults, still more stressful.

So I won't even address eating grassfed/local etc. There are ways to do that, but you have to start with babysteps I think or it's easy to feel overwhelmed. I've no doubt if you eat high carb junk, it's easier to fill your belly on less -- usually.

But not always.

I am a scrupulous shopper of sales. The only way to do that easily is to have an extra deep freeze or a huge pantry and knowledge of canning with pressure.

But here's an idea of things I find on sale:

1. Chicken quarters $0.49/lb (1 quarter is usually about 1/2 lb or so and I can't eat more than 1 quarter neither can Denny.) You can make them so many different ways and use them in so many recipes from stand alone chicken prep to casseroles and chicken nuggets and bites and soups, stews, etc. You could literally eat them 7 days a week and never know you were eating the same meat source....
(However I don't suggest you do cuz of arsenic and heavy metals in chicken).

2. 80/20 or 70/30 ground beef on close-out. $0.99/lb to $1.99/lb again, so many ways to eat this meat.

3. Pork shoulder $0.99/lb, pork picnics (uncured) $0.99/lb

4. Pork chops and pork steak chops $0.99-$1.29/lb

5. Ground pork $1.49/lb

6. Beef back ribs $1.99/lb

7. Eggs $0.07/ea

Someone already mentioned Sprouts, there's also Aldi's or the equivalent to Food Town. I also shop my farm stand in the summer. Produce fresh off the vine and we eat on veggies for about $25/week. I can easily feed us for a day for under $3-4/person.

By saving money on the protein and veg you can afford the dairy elements. With smart shopping and good planning we eat very well and even afford steak sales when it's $2.00/lb up to $3.98/lb.

You can do it!!

Also why buy questionable low carb bread type products when you can make very good facsimiles of low carb bread at home?

This post isn't meant as a criticism. Hopefully just helpful tips!
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Old 05-18-2013, 02:06 PM   #72
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I'm new to posting here so I hope it's okay if jump in with a comment I agree that eating HC junk is cheaper. Wheat and corn are inexpensive "fillers."

If you have a Sprouts grocery store nearby I encourage you to check it out. I know they're popular in the Phoenix area and in some parts of So Cal. I've come across people who assume they're more expensive because they're a "health food" store. While that holds true for some items they generally have excellent prices on produce that it in season. I also buy most of our chicken there. They sell hormone free chicken breast strips for $1.99/lb. That's a decent price in my opinion. The real savings is on the produce, however. In the Fall they sold organic apples for .49/lb (I know those aren't LC but that deal sticks out in my mind for whatever reason).

Choosing veggies and fruits that are in-season (at any store) is a good way to shave a bit off your grocery bill.
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:14 PM   #73
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I try to support my local coop, but sometimes have to hit the big chain.
I agree with what you say about buying in season. Buying stuff on sale really helps with costs.
I have stocked up on great organic CO on sale.
Some of my coop's stuff is cheaper even at non sale prices, e.g. cheese.
Well I am talking good cheese not the plastic stuff.
Bulk is a good way to go too. That's how I get all my flax seed and the like.
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:43 PM   #74
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avid I totally agree!! The future medical costs far, far outweigh the current expense of doing it right. I would rather pay $16 for a couple of ribeyes for two meals over $15 worth of pasta or processed foods for a weeks worth of eating to stop paying the $300 a month I spend in diabetic supplies and medications because I did so much wrong in the past.

Not to mention the quality of life....................
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:32 PM   #75
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This has been a very fascinating discussion. I appreciate all the thoughts expressed here. It has made me more grateful for the grocery budget I have. I am also grateful for the 4 grocery stores that I am able to use.

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Old 05-18-2013, 05:42 PM   #76
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Whenever I slip up and eat a bunch of carbs for a day, I find the next week or so is very expensive because I'm eating huge amounts of fatty meat, trying to keep myself satiated so I don't eat any high carb foods. But finally my body realizes what I'm doing and I feel as though it's saying "okay, okay, I believe you." Then things aren't so expensive because I'm not as hungry.

That's just my personal experience. So yeah, as others have said, I think eating low carb is more expensive in terms of food volume but not more expensive when you get to the point where you're eating less than you were.
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:43 PM   #77
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For me, I would say overall I spend the same on LC (if not less) as I did on HC, but it is because when I ate HC I would do drive-thru eating EVERY day (if not multiple times a day) and would stop at convenience stores for snacks and candy.

I never considered the money I spent on my fast food addiction in my grocery budget, as I truly had an addiction and had my head in the sand when it came to admitting how much money I was really spending on my drug of choice.

However, thinking back to my last year of college during my internship, DH and I were COMPLETELY broke. We had about $30 or $40 a week to spend on all food and household items. That meant when I did meal planning, we had to include dinners like ramen noodles, hot dogs in baked beans, and cheap frozen car-by items at the Dollar General Market. So if I absolutely had to live on $30 a week for groceries now that I eat LC, I would be eating a lot of eggs.
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:01 PM   #78
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So if I absolutely had to live on $30 a week for groceries now that I eat LC, I would be eating a lot of eggs.
Me too. I think that if I had to live on an extremely limited budget I would have a healthier diet now that I have learned so much from low carbing. I would definitely place more value on meats. Even if I did have to use rice and potatoes, and beans (which are whole foods that are cheap) I would know to use the chicken bones to make bone broths and stretch the butter by using a little bit instead of buying margarine. I would know to buy regular oatmeal and soak it. I would know that bread is not essential. There are healthier starches that are just as cheap. I think with knowledge there are ways to eat healthier...maybe not perfect. Before learning about real nutrition through low carbing I probably would have an all starch diet if I were on a tight budget.

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Old 05-18-2013, 06:04 PM   #79
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I always shoot for boneless meat and look at how much it costs per pound.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:21 PM   #80
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Pre-LC, I was spending $500 - $600 per month for food for me. ONE person. That's because I ate nothing but fast food and take out; I never cooked anything for myself unless it was frozen pizza or mac and cheese.

Since going LC, I spend about $350 - $400 per month, which is still too high, but better than before. I've started buying cheaper cuts of meat and being more aggressive about seeking out sales.

I actually get a better price on eggs from the woman I found online who sells her farm eggs. Organic eggs in the store can be almost $5/dozen, but I can get farm-fresh eggs nearby for only $3/dozen. Win!

I do all my own cooking now, but could do better. I'm trying to get my monthly food budget down to $250 or less, and I know I can do it if I plan better and cook even more. LC definitely takes more work than HC, simply because you HAVE to cook more.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:48 PM   #81
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I love chicken, especially dark meat. The 10# bags of legs and thighs are the best food bargain going. Cost is half per pound cost of tomatoes, peppers, etc.

I think the concern about arsenic in chicken is overblown. According to recent articles about it the arsenic level in chicken is significently lower than the level in rice and is about 1/50th the amount approved by the FDA as being safe. Since those samples were taken the primary drug containing arsenic that was used in the chicken industry has been taken off the US market which should make it even less.

Seems every predator around loves chicken. 500 million coyotes, foxes, coons, possums, weasels, and stray dogs can't be wrong! I will keep on scanning the sale sheets for chicken legs n thighs and enjoy delicious LC chicken treats at 1/2 the price of your common veggies.
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Old 05-18-2013, 10:54 PM   #82
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Wow Vilya I try to spend about $200 a month on food. I think I could do about $150 or even <$100 if I wasn't doing LC.

Of course I think I'd be spending way more if I was trying to get everything organic.

Last edited by MintyToucan; 05-18-2013 at 10:56 PM..
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:46 AM   #83
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Yep, I'm buying organic everything and grass-fed meat, which drives up the cost. I'm trying to do better, though! I'm not really able to afford that much anymore, darn it.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:03 AM   #84
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My grocery bill has went down (it's still high mind you, just less). I make a menu, and a list, I stick to it. My menu/list are based on what's on sale at my market(Sprouts). They put out the new ads on Tuesday, and on Weds they honor the previous week's sale, and the new week's sale - so, I shop Wednesdays. So, if beef is not on sale for that week, and chicken is - there's no beef that week. It's just how it goes. But, financially it works for me.

We make a quick trip into Trader Joes for a couple things I can't grab at the main place I shop, and we are lucky to have a vegetable garden, and several neighbors who do as well, so we often trade surplus veggies.
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:26 AM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmc305 View Post
LOL...a few years ago when I started this journey, I came up with the slogan "spend your money at the grocery store, or the doctor. It's your choice." I believe that to be COMPLETELY true.
I think this is true.

I also know that processed packaged foods are more expensive because more is required and for some, there is never enough. My volume of food has drastically reduced since eating a ketogenic woe.
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