Thursday, August 18, 2011

August 18th, 2011 - Day 40 of 60

The stock market was down again today.  I expect more of that to come.  I recall so many of my friends telling me to jump into the stock market back a few years ago.  I recall that January the market was around 14000.  I have a retirement account, IRAs, college fund for the grandkids, etc. but have not been interested in the market as a means of getting rich.  It is gambling, plain and simple. I spoke with a co-worker last week who told me she was losing money after 15 or 20 years of investing in what is generally considered a safe and reliable fund. Sure, it can pay off if you know what you are doing, but there is something that is unseemly about a corporation's primary concern being to its stockholders and not to the community-at-large.  That tells me if shareholder profits can be increased by laying off my neighbors even though the corporation makes a profit now, they will do it.  That is insanity.  Yet, it happens all the time.  So, when I see the volatility of the market I am not surprised.  I am just surprised the smoke and mirrors have lasted this long.

So, while the stock market is down, prices for your food are up.  Prices for all food is up, some worse than others.  I'm going to stick in a chart for your consideration:

These are recent figures on food and commodity prices from the World Bank.  The good news is that prices have fallen somewhat from their peak in February of this year (2011 if you are reading this sometime in the future).  The bad news is that most food is up about 33% from last year at this time.  Some things are up even higher (corn is up 84%, sugar is up 62%, wheat is up 55%, etc.).  That is insane.  Why do we have 4 trillion dollars to bail out every greedy bank, investment house, insurance company, auto company, mortgage company and who knows who else, but we can't provide a subsidy for the American family so they can afford good food rather than less-expensive, processed crap?  I hope a lot of you out there reading this are getting 30%, 40% or 50% raises so you can keep up on your food bill.   I know I'm not.

A week or so ago on NPR I was listening to a short story being read about an African woman who comes to America to try and make a living.  She writes back to her parents that "the rich people are thin and the poor people are fat."  That line was noteworthy as it is usually the other way around in her country.  When you are poor in Africa you don't eat.  In the United States if you are poor you eat starchy, sugary, processed and highly refined foods as they are less expensive.    Anyone who has priced organic produce knows that it isn't cheap.  Compare that to a box of spaghetti and a store-brand jar of sauce and you'll see why many people who are having money troubles will skip the produce aisle altogether.  It is hard enough to buy organic produce and meats when you are single and have a decent job.  When you are unemployed, under-employed or employed and poor, you can't do it when you have kids, rent or a mortgage, etc.

I only bring this up today as the endless news about market troubles and hard times seem to be overshadowing everything.    It is news like that which can bring people down and discourage them from their Reboot.   The cost of eating well is staggeringly high.  The cost of a Reboot is no small investment.  But when compared to poor health and general unhappiness, the cost is well worth it.

I have a lot of boutique watermelons in my garden that will be ready to eat soon.  I figure to purchase them would cost me somewhere around one hundred dollars.  But the cost of the seeds over a two year period was around five dollars.  That is a pretty good return on investment.   As a crappy watermelon in the supermarket goes for around $6, I could sell my smaller, yet profoundly more delicious and organic melons for $5 to $8 and no one around here would bat an eye over that price.  One taste is all you need.  So, while the stock market is going up, food prices are going up, tensions are going up and the cost of a Reboot is going way, way up, I am sticking to my guns.  What I am saving in luxury foods, desserts, eating out, drinking beer, etc., is more than making up for my Reboot food costs.  I'm investing in the one thing I know will give me good returns: my health.  Wall Street can worry about itself, I am putting my money in the organic food market rather than the stock market.  Guaranteed growth (even if there are a few bugs here and there).

I am 65% through the 60 days.

Weight: 151.1 lbs.
Up again.

Food: Grapes, bananas, almond butter, mixed nuts, Smoothie, broccoli slaw
Long time, no see.

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