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Food is body fuel: why eat more than you need?

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Do you fill your gas tank or your body? Food is for body fuel; just like gas is for transportation.

According to the WorldAtlas Facts determining dietary patterns, “Which Country Eats the Most, Daily? Number 1 – Austria at 3,800 calories; Number 2 – United States at 3,750 calories, almost twice what is needed for food fuel for the average sized female (2,098) and male (2,300) calories per day.

Bermuda lifestyles and tastes are very similar to our US neighbour. Yes indeed, they are; so it is not a stretch to see overconsumption trends here.

Point taken; the message is that we eat too much of everything, both the wrong and the right foods at a considerable physical and financial cost.

Calorie league: Austria tops the big eater standings, just ahead of the United States
American diet: what it’s composed of

Are we eating more because we can afford it? Sounds like a misnomer, given the high cost of food in Bermuda, but we have come to expect more – eating lots more. Western-style restaurants tend to “load the plates” with filling, not always the most nutritious, foods, for example a 16oz steak for one person with a sizeable side of fries!

Now that I’ve made myself hugely and critically unpopular, for those still interested in resetting the consumption mindset while saving money, here are some thoughts in changing your perception of food while controlling food costs:

1. Change your mindset – eat to live, rather than live to eat

Not mentioned nearly as often is a very simple rule.

Buy (and eat) only what you need to sustain your mental and physical wellbeing.

View food in a different light – no longer as a reward for getting through the day, or as a boredom reliever, or as entertainment, but as fuel to keep you as a high-level functioning, contributing member of society.

2. Eat less

If your goal is to cut your food budget by 25 per cent, then serve three-quarters of the old portion size – using smaller plates equals smaller portions, reduce 50 per cent – you get an even smaller plate size.

3. Make a budget and stick to it

It is encouraging to read about food centres helping their customers control costs, but disheartening to see shopper statements such as, “Everything is going up! Last week I spent $350, this week it is $425.” Where will it stop?” Guess what, it isn’t going to stop! If the price goes up, buy less. That’s what budgets are for. Draw the line in the food aisle (er, sand).

4. Shop with your phone nutrition app – see link below.

Buy food based on nutrition value and cost per serving.

A woman of medium height with a weight between 140-150 pounds needs 50 grams of protein per day. What are the best and cheapest sources of that protein?

Food prices taken from current Bermuda grocery store adverts.

Example grocery promotions:

2.5lb chicken for $12.39

Potato chips 6.5oz for $3.49

3 ounces of chicken = 54 grams protein, 246 calories

31 cents per oz = 93 cents total cost

3 ounces of potato chips = 6 grams protein, 456 calories

53 cents per oz = $1.59 total

But, the real cost for absolute equivalent protein amount for chips, some 27 ounces is $14.31 and are you ready, a whopping 4,130 calories – and that protein requirement is for just one day!

It isn’t even the question of which is better for you, as much as it is the food fuel, not calories, gained.

5. Read the food labels

What exactly are you buying for your hard-earned dollar? The nutrition data label required to be prominently displayed on all food (or purported food) by law in most democratic countries contains a wealth of information. Don’t know what’s in your mystery food treat?

Load https://nutritiondata.self.com/ on your phone. See the great features, such as:

• Tools: compare foods, daily caloric intake and needs

• Topics. Glycaemic index, better choices, food additives and total processing

• Categorise foods highest in vitamins or lowest in carbs, saturated fats, or sugars, etc.

• Your ND Pantry: create and analyse recipes, track your diet, with foods that fit you, such as low-carb, low-calorie, low-fat, heart-healthy, or super-nutritious

6. Stick to basic food groups

Simple meals and plain food do work. Yes, they can be a bit boring, but you can be creative. Use your savings goals to motivate your cooking skills.

7. Cook at home

Eliminate processed and takeout foods – except for birthdays and holidays.

8. Avoid grocery items with more than five processing ingredients

The higher up the food processing chain you go, the less it looks and acts like food, at a higher cost per serving.

The potato chip example is duplicated again and again with sugary or diet soda, sugary child’s cereal, and salty carb snacks of all kinds, as our grandson says. He, too, has a huge fondness for fluffy, puffy zero-food-quality snacks. It’s cultural – he’s been conditioned since birth by millions of food conglomerate media promotions.

9. Don’t throw good food away

In the old, thrifty days, nothing was wasted. All bread scraps, leftover cereal, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and a touch of nutmeg was turned into wonderful home-made bread pudding. Today, we buy it ($2 to $3 per slice) with no idea how it is even made. Make Sunday soup from all tired fridge veggies. Dig out Granny’s cheese biscuit recipe for all those rat cheese bits. Compost the unreclaimable, grow your own salad greens in pots. You know what to do.

10. You are an appreciating asset – food is not

Maximise your savings by minimising your waistline.

Whether you choose to indulge every treat craving or decide to transition to good food health, it still all ends up as next day sewage!

Readers, please let me know how you are coping with food inflation, and feel free to send me any family secrets you have to stretch your food dollar further at martha.myron@gmail.com


VERY. WELL. FIT, https://tinyurl.com/rjp8p44j

Nutrition Data, https://nutritiondata.self.com/

Food consumption by country, https://tinyurl.com/5yyuh5ax

Martha Harris Myron, a native Bermudian with US connections, is a qualified international cross-border financial planner, the author of The Bermuda Islander Financial Planning Primers, a Google News Contributor (50-plus articles) since 2016, international financial consultant to the Olderhood Group Bermuda Ltd., and financial columnist to The Royal Gazette, Bermuda’s national newspaper. All proceeds from these articles are donated by The Royal Gazette to the Salvation Army, Bermuda. Contact: martha@pondstraddler.com

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Published October 23, 2021 at 7:51 am (Updated October 25, 2021 at 8:15 am)

Food is body fuel: why eat more than you need?

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