Your Meal Does Not Reflect the Cost (unless you ordered rice and veggies)

Here is something cool that I recalled from this year:
Last summer I met with some friends at the mall for lunch to look around and possibly go to a movie. Everyone was in the mood for different cuisine, so everyone split up and we were to meet at our chosen table. I went for the Japanese food cuisine (I don’t remember the name, sorry). I simply ordered rice with veggies, as there were few menu items that met my dietary standard. One of my friends also ordered a meat dish from the Japanese cafe. (They know me well and they won’t mind my sharing this). We watched the chef prepare the food and we proceeded to pay for our meals. I couldn’t help but notice the price difference! My rice and veggies with a little sesame seed and ginger sauce came to $3.03. I am not kidding. I was so impressed that I went home and wrote it down; in fact, I think I even borrowed a pen and jotted it on my hand so I’d remember because I’m cool like that.

That’s not it, just the room number, but you get the point.

When we all got to the table, the inevitable comparison of prices came up. Mine was by far the lowest in price, and was probably a fairly accurate representation of the price of the meal as compared to the cost of all processes that went into it: growing the rice, broccoli, cabbage, ginger and sesame seeds, and the shipment. How about that, the small business even made a profit from the mark-up and margin of the rice, sauce and veggies. It is something that I make at home, and the price is even lower when I make this meal myself. It was fun to be with friends though, support small business, and the meal was very tasty. Most of all, it just felt good. I knew I was eating something good for me and the earth.

The others’ meals were 6 and 7 dollars each; even the friend with the meat dish also from the Japanese cafe.
The price of your meal does not reflect the actual taxing cost on environmental depletion, and human health. If hamburgers were $20 each, this would be a more accurate representation of the resources required to make the food (or kind of like food) on your plate.

As conscious consumers in training, you will learn to see the real cost of your food, and to make a well informed choice, one that counts in a very positive way and accumulates wealth in health.
I remember this being discussed in several books I have read including Food Over Medicine by Pam Popper and Glen Merzer. Very soon,I hope to see measures that reflect the truth of price and actual cost of a meal, not only to the environment but in the ways that your meal is detrimental to your well-being (spirit, mind and body). What if?? What if we knew the truth and lived it? The world would be a better place.

Here’s to those three dollar sustainable meals at the mall with friends-priceless and timeless.

Be sure to read my memoir which discusses this and many other aspects of individual, societal and global health: The Irony of the Well
-Owen

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