Take it or leave it.

Monday, March 20, 2017


In the spirit of Donald Trump's releasing a portion of his tax return from 2005, or letting it be leaked, I think it is appropriate that I share with you my recent grocery receipt for the week. What does one have to do with the other? It is fitting that the one who commands private citizens to pay taxes also paid them himself prior to holding public office, just as it is fitting that a medical doctor who once wrote a book recommending that readers eat more fruits and vegetables furnish proof that he himself abides by this injunction. 

We can call Trump a lot of things, but when it comes to those affairs handled by the IRS, a hypocrite is not one of them. Trump's 25 percent tax rate was actually a few percentage points higher than what other members of the top 0.1 percent (you read that right) paid. I hope at the end of this that you can say the same about me.

Before I go into detail about the foods listed on the receipt in the picture, allow me to state that I am aware that the specific items are unreadable. But I have no interest in typing the receipt out because I am feeling lazy - not because the foods, some of which I've just consumed for an early lunch, have failed to provide adequate energy to sustain the effort, but because I just got finished working in the garden for 2.5 hours, and my fingers are sore from all the weeding I had to do. So when I refer to quantities, prices and particular foods, either pull out your microscope or just trust me.

I started shopping at Sprouts at the insistence of two friends, who said that not only are items at this health-food store less expensive than at Ralphs, which is where I used to shop, but the quality is also much better. Jeff and DJ were right on both accounts. Thank you, sirs. 

The local store is in almost the precise location of the market where my mom used to take my brothers and me when we were in elementary school. I have such fond memories of Westward Ho! Mom would let her boys throw anything we wanted into the cart. This meant a lot of sugary snacks, fruit rolls, cookies and pastries, of course. She used to make an extra trip to buy me gummy bears as a special treat when I'd get As on my report card. Gummy bears are aptly named because even as a 13-year-old they would gum me up for like a week. Since those days my taste in treats has changed.

I was able to come away from Sprouts with a week's worth of food, much of it organic, for the very affordable price of about $100. Actually the bill was $108, but that included eight dollars worth of dental floss and dog treats, neither of which I intend to eat. 

Moreover, I don't usually consume so many avocados (the receipt indicates 6). They are cost-prohibitive, even at the low price of $1.99 per large one. So taking into account the $12 in fatty fruit, the receipt could be considered falsely elevated. I also purchased medjool dates, which I've fallen out of the habit of eating due to their high sugar content. But avocados and dates, eaten together for two or three days after shopping, have become my weekly treat. Rather than indulge in something unhealthy like pizza or pasta, I just have more of what I usually consume sparingly and feel my mood elevate instantly. Nevertheless, $12 in dates is rather stiff, but dates are pricey anywhere and Prozac costs much more.

Jicama has become my new favorite snack food. Again, thank you Deej. A large one, 3 lbs, only costs as many dollars and lasts nearly twice as many days. I peel it and eat it raw. I used to complain about the cost of bell peppers. At Ralphs the red ones were usually $1.50 per. But at Sprouts you can sometimes buy 3 green ones for  a dollar, and when it comes to bell peppers, I am color blind. They all are equally enjoyable to me. I have taken to buying organic tomatoes and collard greens, in addition to broccoli. These foods can be coated in pesticides which I am loath to rinse off as thoroughly as I should, so why not fork over a few cents extra per pound. Bananas I almost never buy organic, since the pesticides remain in the skin which even I don't eat. I say even I because I eat the skin of virtually every plant food, mangoes and kiwis and kaboche squash included, eggplant too. 

Thirty bananas is about a week's worth, and it costs $10, which is about a dollar fifty per day. Seasonal food can be less expensive, which is why you see two cantaloupes on the receipt, each costing 88 cents. I have citrus food every morning- clementines and grapefruit particularly - and apples are a daily snack, as are baby carrots. 

Bulk bin legumes are essential, and 2 lbs of pinto beans for 3 dollars is a steal. As are walnuts at $6.99 by the pound. I've taken to eating nuts sparingly. 

Chia seeds are practically the only item I eat daily which I didn't purchase this week, but bulk bin chia seeds can be found for 4 or 5 dollars per pound, and a lb lasts a long time. I'd like to brag about two boxes of strawberries for $5, but they are not organic. And strawberries have more pesticide residues than any other food. So room for improvement there. But you'll notice the red potatoes I bought on the other hand are organic, for the first time in forever for me.

How do these foods comprise the daily diet? Simple:

Morning snack of grapefruit and clementines with a banana and some coffee.

Mid-morning smoothie with banana, chia and strawberries.

Pre-lunch snack of bell pepper and jicama, plus maybe an apple.

Lunch/dinner meals featuring some combination of 1. starch (squash or potato); 2. green veggie (Brussels sprouts, collard greens or broccoli, usually); and legume (I rotate between a lentil or pea and a bean, preferably kidney or pinto).

Banana and carrots and raw nuts for an after dinner snack, if desired.

You'll note the absence of sauces and seasonings, other than white wine vinegar. That's because, other than oil and some vinegar and some salt and/or pepper, I prefer my food unseasoned. Note also the absence of packaged, processed foods. Such a clean bill probably puts me in the top 0.1 percent of a list you hope you'll never be on. Yes, such Spartan habits take a while getting used to, but that's how we as babies all got our start. Fresh clean food, and look how you turned out! Go back to the basics for a change, or for good. It'll do you good.

That's it. So as a fellow non-hypocrite, consider me right in line with Trump. But not necessarily in league. Ah hell, he's not such a bad fella after all. Really all that separates our commander in chief and me is our taste in hairstyles. That and about $30 million.

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