Shame on you, Dr. Oz! Here’s how to *really* eat healthy on a budget.

I occasionally buy fresh spinach at the farmer’s market. And fresh carrots. And pasture-raised meats. Apparently that makes me a food snob who’s wasting money without actually getting any meaningful nutritional benefits from these food choices. At least that’s my takeaway from this month’s Time Magazine cover story, authored by the surgeon turned TV personality known as “Dr. Oz.”  In the article, Dr. Oz tells readers “What to eat now” based on his “Anti-food-snob diet.”

In the article entitled Give (Frozen) Peas A Chance, Dr. Oz starts off with the example of frozen spinach, which he says that food-snobs like me claim is less healthy than fresh spinach. Not only have I never said or felt this, but I’ve never heard my fellow “food snob” friends say this. I use organic frozen spinach all the time. What really matters, as I articulated in this article, is how the spinach was grown, which has a huge impact on the nutrient content of the spinach. Vegetables labeled as organic are generally more nutritious because instead of simply using chemical fertilizer, the growers use organic fertilizers, like compost, manure and mineral amendments which provide far more nutrients than simple N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) fertilizer. I’m not even getting into the toxic pesticides that are used on most non-organic crops. Yet Dr. Oz fails to distinguish between organic and non-organic spinach, as if it doesn’t matter.  Shame on you, Dr. Oz!

He goes on say that, after his years of research and experience, he’s come to the conclusion that “the American food supply is abundant, nutritionally sound, affordable and, with a few simple considerations, comparable to the most elite organic diets. Save the cash; the 99% diet can be good for you.”

You’ve got to be kidding me! Last time I checked, the majority of the “99%” are overweight, if not obese[1], and have ever-growing rates of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. And most of the people I come across who consume the “99% diet” drive fancy cars, wear designer clothes and perfume, dye their hair and give their kids iPads and vacations to Disneyworld. That sounds pretty “elitist” to me. On the other hand, when I attended the 1000+ attendee open house event sponsored by the farm where I buy my milk, meat, eggs and other foods, I saw almost no overweight people in attendance. Nor did I see fancy cars, designer handbags or professionally highlighted hair (and I’m not even counting those attendees who were Amish). I can say exactly the same about the people I met a couple weeks ago at the Wise Traditions conference in Santa Clara, hosted by the Weston A. Price Foundation. This is a group that consumes raw milk from pasture grazing cows, organic vegetables and pasture-raised meats.These were about the most humble, down-to-earth, and friendly people I’ve ever seen gathered together in one place.  Far from what I would consider “snobby.”

Later in the article, Dr. Oz states that, “there is not much difference between, say, grass-fed beef and the feedlot variety. The calories, sodium and protein content are all very close.” I’d really like to know what percentage of Dr. Oz’s income comes from food industry kickbacks because I can not comprehend how anyone with as much nutrition and biology training as Dr. Oz claims to have would ever actually believe that calories, sodium and protein content of a food tell you much about a foods actual healthfulness. What about omega 3 fatty acids, which are sorely lacking in the meat of animals raised on corn and soy-based feed? What about the conjugated linoleic acid or CLA, with its anticancer properties, which is found primarily in grass-fed animals? How about the difference in vitamin D content? And of course he only casually mentions it in his article, but apparently he doesn’t think much of the huge difference in safety between pastured vs. feedlot meats. Feedlot meat has to be cooked all of the way through and anything it comes in contact with must be disinfected because these animals often harbor pathogens, like e-Coli 0157:H7 and certain strains of Staphylococcus Aureus (or “Staph”), two antibiotic-resistant superbugs that we can thank the industrial meat industry for creating for us. From a nutrient perspective, that also means that people who eat feedlot meat, dairy and egg products are deprived of the special digestive enzymes and healthful bacteria that are present in these foods in their raw (unheated, unpasteurized) state.  Funny enough, Dr. Oz even describes elsewhere in the article how cooking degrades the nutrient content of foods.  Once again, shame on you, Dr. Oz!

Another comment that makes me call into question Dr. Oz’s knowledge of nutrition and/or his industry ties is his comment that, “Peanut butter does have saturated fat, but 80% of its total fats are unsaturated. That’s as good as olive oil.” I shouldn’t have to be the one to break it to Dr. Oz that the Diet Heart Hypothesis has been disproven so many times since Ancel Keys’ flawed Seven-Countries Study, published back in the 1970s.  The processed food industry clings to this old myth because if people realized how much more healthy saturated fats were compared to the cheaper polyunsaturated oils derived from genetically modified corn, soy, rapeseed (Canola) and cottonseed oils that are present in almost all processed foods today, then industrial food producers’ profits would plummet.

On a related topic, he fails to mention the huge media scandal that recently erupted that calls into question the purity and therefore healthfulness of most extra virgin olive oil on the market. Apparently people like me, who question the source of their foods and want to meet the producers, are also elitist snobs.

Is it possible to eat healthy on a budget and not be an elitist snob?

Absolutely! Here are some of the ways that I eat healthy without breaking the bank:

  • Eat what’s in season. Eat pomegranate, clementines, winter squash and kale in the winter.  Not strawberries!
  • Eat what thrives in your area. Don’t expect to be able to drink loads of cow milk in hawaii or coconut milk in New Jersey unless you’re prepared to pay relatively high prices.
  • Preserve foods by canning, freezing, and/or fermenting. This is a great way to make local, in-season foods last. A large basement freezer is a worthwhile investment. As an example, I make gallons of chicken or beef stock at a time and then freeze it in quart-size bags.  Homemade preserves or lacto-fermented veggies don’t require refrigeration. Nor do foods you can yourself (until you open them the first time). And don’t let Dr. Oz fool you into thinking that supermarket canned foods are anything like what you get when you can at home.
  • Buy foods in bulk: Food buying clubs are a great way to get bulk pricing without having to store large quantities of a food. Meat cuts can be expensive. Buy whole chickens and learn to either prepare them whole or cut them up yourself. Buying a half or quarter of a pasture-raised cow, pig or lamb and then storing it in a basement freezer not only saves you money, but gives you a wider range of nutrients because you don’t just overeat one favorite cut, like the sirloin, but you do what traditional cultures did, which is to also consume nutrient-dense organ meats, make stock from bones and render fat into jars, which you can then use for sauteeing or frying.
  • Pick your own: There are lots of pick-your-own farms that will let you pick your own strawberries, cherries, apples or other fruits or vegetables for very cheap. Once you pick them, you can preserve them for long periods using methods like the ones listed above.
  • Keep it simple: Try to resist the current trend of trying to eat as many different foods/ingredients in one sitting as possible. (I call this the “tapas trend” or “mezze mania”). Instead, think about how you can maximize the use of a large crop of squash or all those turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving. I sometimes have the exact same lunch several days in a row, like right now when pears are in season, I’m using them nearly every day for my lunch salad.  Or I’ll roast a couple large squashes and puree some for baby food, make some into a squash soup that I freeze, and then keep some slices in the refrigerator for salads. A French cook once told me that in France, a good cook never uses more than 5 ingredients in a dish. I think this makes a lot of sense because if you use high quality ingredients, then you don’t want to mask their flavor with too many other ingredients.
  • Plan your meals in advance. If I haven’t figured out my meals for the day by 10am, then something is wrong. This rule goes hand-in-hand with not going out to eat, which people intuitively know they shouldn’t do if they want to save money. But the problem I see is that people are too busy with other things that they apparently deem as more important than feeding themselves (or planning to do so). By the time they’re hungry, it’s too late to shop for and prepare the meal themselves, so they call for takeout. Interestingly, nearly every person I’ve ever heard complain to me about the cost of food is someone who frequents places like Starbucks or restaurants that charge more than $8 per person for lunch or $12 for dinner – more than double what I usually spend on my meals, even those that include gourmet ingredients like imported Parmesan cheese or Prosciutto di Parma.  Like anything, if you plan your meals along with everything else you’re going to do in the day, you can actually be quite efficient.

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[1] updated 11/29: Thanks to several of my readers who point out, rightly so, that a person’s weight or body mass index (BMI) is not always a good indicator of a person’s health. I wholeheartedly agree and believe that other factors need to be considered, such as a person’s energy level, mood/happiness, medical conditions and other metrics that, when looked at together, provide a better indication of a person’s health. Imperfect as it may be, I still think weight/BMI is worth considering. Especially when evaluating large populations of people. The fact is, it’s a metric that generally does correlate with other health problems. Plus, the majority of people seem to want to understand more about what causes a person to gain or lose weight and statistical analysis of large populations is one of the best tools to aid us in improving our understanding of this.

65 thoughts on “Shame on you, Dr. Oz! Here’s how to *really* eat healthy on a budget.

  1. Hi there Nevra! I really really like your article – you summed up very nicely what I’ve been meaning to say in response to the TIME article by Oz. To me, the saddest thing is that so many unsuspecting people looking for health guidance put their trust in Dr. Oz’s advice so willingly … It’s really not fair of him to “side” with those who think eating real food that is high-quality is snobby – just to appeal to a larger percentage of the population. It’s true that most people who claim they cannot afford better ingredients pay willingly for $4 cups of Starbucks and buy designer bags just to carry around a particular brand. And I think it’s very unfortunate that Oz is perpetuating the very misconceptions and biases that have essentially screwed up many people’s priorities, leading to their poor health … Anyway, thanks for your article. I’ve shared it on my FB page and on Pinterest.

  2. great article! I am french and in France, taking time to choose good quality ingredients and cook meals at home (lunch and diner) is not being snob its just being …..normal….;)

  3. Thank you for your voice of reason! I was sputtering with objection to just about every line of this article (someone else’s subscription, of course!)

  4. Bravo! This retort is far kinder and far more open minded than Dr. “I’ve been paid off” Oz ever deserves. But don’t worry, he will contradict himself at least once before the week is out.

    Be careful though in combating observational BS like this with observational assessments. Not all health conscious (“food snobs” now) are thin nor are all over weight people un-healthy. I’m sure if you went to a PETA or Vegan conference there wouldn’t be many overweight people but they would probably out number the healthy people.

    But thanks for taking him down! I also love your list and agree 200% that a real food diet is affordable if you care.

    • Thanks for the feedback everyone! Be, good point about the observational assessments. You’re right, I’m generalizing based on a relatively tiny subset of the populations to which I refer. I’ve only met one PETA member before. Coincidentally, she was obese. But many of the vegetarians I’ve meet are thin. Plus, I don’t believe that one’s physical appearance tells you anywhere near the full story about their health. Other factors that should be considered are things like their happiness, medical conditions, energy level and other such factors that are really hard to know about people you meet casually. So point taken.

  5. Everyone is at a different level of knowledge. I was raised by hippie parents so Ive always been exposed to what is called healthy foods. Now as I have gained more knowledge and have been a a mission to eat healthy for 18 years or more. First eating only organic. Then I did the Paleo diet, Ive been vegan, and vegetarian all of it. The fact is, there is no subject surrounded with more misinformation and lies the diet and health. Most of the lies come from the need of agri-biz to sell their useless wares, other disinformation comes from ideological minded people, and just mislead opportunists like WAPF. So the problem is on many fronts.
    We can start with the issue of fats and the leading cause of cancer. The fact is ALL polyunsaturated fat is highly TOXIC! Only saturated fat is safe, the more saturated the better (coconut is 98%). WAPF promotes the use of toxic cancer causing fats like fish and flax.
    second there is the issue of sugar and starches. WAPF promote using starches and not sugar, where sugar is the safe food and starches cause obesity and disease.
    Also it seems many are unaware of the harms of vegetables, because of their natural anti pest toxins and their fiber. Other foods that are promoted as healthy that are NOT, are legumes, nuts and seeds, and meat from non ruminants ( because of their PUFAs).

    You said some good things tho. Here is a link to my health page. Blessings. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Heritage-of-Health/133125453451292

      • Priscilla – Thanks for taking the time to give me feedback. You’re absolutely right. I’m going to go through it again right now and either define the acronyms or else provide hyperlinks to other websites that will describe some of these terms in more detail. Let me know if I’ve missed any.

        • Oops, thanks for the clarification! Nevertheless I updated the post. Realized that not everyone knows what N-P-K fertilizer is, and such. :-)

  6. Sometimes, in America, we look like the ignorant, know-it-all teenagers who end up creating a royal mess of things… which we are compared to most of the older and wiser countries (who have banned GM foods). It is discouraging to see public figures sell-out to Big Ag. Thank you for your article, I will def share. And I will def keep eating my pastured and organic foods and teaching people about what’s really healthy :)

  7. I’m so glad you summed up that article for me because I got so mad reading it that I had to stop after the first couple if paragraphs. I was hoping someone would pick go over it point by point. Thank you for bringing truth to this subject.

  8. Dr Oz should be thoroughly discredited by now as someone who knows dangerously little about the science of nutrition (watch his debates with Gary Taubes). I agree with almost everything in your post, as I too am able to feed my family mostly organic, mostly local food on a budget (mostly by subscribing to a farm box, cooking smart, and rarely eating out).
    HOWEVER, I take exception to the idea that you can judge the health of someone, or their diet, by their appearance.
    On the same diet, my husband and children are slender while I am (and have been since birth) at a BMI that is statistically obese. All of my vitals other than weight are stellar, and I am able to enjoy an active life with hiking and bicycling and swimming.
    I am SO tired of generalizations about fat people. Have you considered that were fewer fat people at your farm conference because they wanted to avoid the stink eye of people like you?
    They say fat-hating is the last socially acceptable prejudice. Please recognize it for what it is, a need to feel superior to others and a reflection of one’s own insecurities. People should be judged on the content of their character, not their pants’ size.

    • Thanks for the feedback, fatandhealthy & Tina H. I get your points and agree that you can’t judge the health of a person by their appearance, as I mentioned in my response to another commenter. Individual people have individual circumstances, genetics, hormone levels (which I believe impacts one’s BMI more than probably anything else), etc. That said, I do think that weight/BMI can be an interesting data point to consider when evaluating large populations of people. The fact is, it’s a metric that many people care about and wish to understand further and statistical analysis of large populations is one of the best tools to aid us in improving our understanding of this. Unfortunately there’s no way to do a totally controlled experiement on humans.

      • I’m disappointed (disgusted actually) that your blog article started off with fist pumping affirmations about the ridiculous claims by Dr. Oz. Dr. Oz is well known for his fat bigotry and unfortunately you’ve taken the same route by stereotyping fat people, even citing BMI as a credible assessment tool! The scientific (and anecdotal) data dispelling the myths of fat are overwhelming and in abundance, however they rarely make news because the media caters to advertisers pushing body and fat shaming products, first. Please don’t treat the media as the eye of god when it comes to information about fat.
        http://kateharding.net/faq/but-dont-you-realize-fat-is-unhealthy/

    • Thanks for saying what should have been said already (and saying it so well!) I’ve seen men who eat junk food, day and night, who are thin as rails, yet no one would think of judging them harshly by their appearance or of making assumptions about their health at first glance.

      I’ve seen so many ugly and ignorant comments by the “nutrionally superior” who think they know all about a person’s health by looking at them.

  9. While I appreciated the valuable information and advice on how to eat TRULY better (and not just Standard American Diet better) I was concerned by the way you used weight as an indicator of if people were eating chemicals and junk instead of healthy and organic – fat = bad, elitist, addicted to junk and skinny = good, healthy, organic, enlightened. Weight is not an accurate indicator of health, and making sure that all body shapes and sizes feel welcome at the farmer’s market and food co-ops is important! I was a size 22 when I was eating boxed macaroni and cheese and ramen noodles for every meal, when I switched to organic, fresh, home cooked, and naturally raised foods I felt AMAZING!! So much energy, my skin cleared up, my stomach felt normal for the first time in years, and I still wore a size 22. Doesn’t make me a bad or unhealthy person. Please, let’s focus on health for our bodies and for our planet instead of being so concerned about body snarking. Thank you :-)

    • Wow. What has this world come to?

      Unless you have some type of genetic metabolic disorder or such disorders caused by pharmaceutical drugs etc., being overweight is your body’s way of telling you that you are doing something wrong (most likely eating too much), which eventually will lead to problems.

      Being overweight ITSELF is a symptom of poor health. Why isn’t this common sense anymore? A simple search will tell you that even being 10-20 pounds overweight IS unhealthy.
      http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/health_risks.htm
      http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/dieting/obesity.html
      http://www.dietriot.com/stories/overweight.htm
      http://www.brainyweightloss.com/dangers-of-being-overweight.html#axzz2DjvBke6d
      http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/01/21/obesity.discrimination/index.html
      http://www.mamashealth.com/eat/oweightdam.asp
      http://www.foxnews.com/health/2010/04/07/dangers-overweight/

      Side note: Do you really think that a skinnier version of yourself would be in the same health condition as the current heavier version? I sure hope not, because then you’d be lying to yourself, which doesn’t help anyone.

      It is simply not normal for a person to be overweight, and society needs to stop with the “big and beautiful” or “don’t judge me for my weight/body type” propaganda because it is giving people the false idea that being heavy is ok. It is NOT ok. Far far far worse, it is giving children/teens the notion that they should be accepted for their overweight bodies, and thus, poor eating choices (whether it is eating too much junk or simply over consuming healthy foods) and ultimately, the future generation will suffer because of this (not to mention that our tax dollars will have to cover rising health care costs and this is not where the money should go… especially if eating habits can be changed and subsequent diseases prevented)!

      Being overweight unnecessarily taxes your organs, weighs you down during physical activity, and puts you at risk for MANY diseases in the future… you simply cannot argue that! Not to mention it is just biologically (not “judgmentally”) unattractive to the eye… all of which could be prevented by a little extra discipline and eating habit change.

      Although I find Dr. Oz’s article extremely misleading and disturbing, he is not the only one guilty of “fat bigotry” as one commenter mentioned above… nature is apparently guilty of it too… because biologically, overweight people are at higher risks for diseases. If it were FINE to be overweight, and natural, there wouldn’t be such risks. Again, why isn’t this common sense?

      Have we ever seen fat wild animals? No. There is a reason for that. They eat what they were biologically meant to eat and listen to their body signals for natural hunger… not emotional hunger. They also don’t eat past the point of satisfaction. Nearly all people who are not overweight will be guilty of “fat bigotry” and that’s just a natural response. It’s a biological truth.

      It should also be noted that judgments placed on heavy people are not the same as those placed on people with things they can’t help – such as race, sexual orientation and so on. Judging someone for being fat is similar to judging someone for smelling because he/she actively *chose* not to shower for 5 weeks. Remember, unless you have some strange genetic metabolic disorder, it is not genetically/biologically normal for people to be fat. This means that if you are overweight, you actively chose to over-consume and get yourself to that shape. This shows that you are lazy, resistant to change, and ultimately self-harming and over-indulgent – and this is what you are subconsciously being judged for. You poor lifestyle choices will ultimately effect the rest of society too.

      Sadly, this is not what most overweight people want to hear, but it’s the truth. It’s what needs to be heard. The goal is not to protect people’s feelings and egos, it’s to do what’s right and get people back on the right track. Otherwise, people will keep on making excuses for poor eating habits, not change anything, and then we can continue on an exponential health decline. (Again, over eating, even on healthy organic foods, constitutes “poor” eating habits.)

      With all that said, you MUST realize:

      1) A BMI is simply a weight to height benchmark. But yes it needs to be used.
      2) Skinny does not necessarily = healthy.
      3) Heavier people can be healthier than some skinny people.
      4) But being overweight + healthy is worse off than being “in shape” + healthy. Always.

      *Side note: Does that even sound right? “Overweight and healthy” ?? Sounds like a paradox. Only in America could we come up with a paradox like that. Overweight is NOT healthy!! Period.

      It is absolutely alarming that society has gotten to a point where overweight people are complacent and actually defending their position. It’s time to wake up. Please stop contributing to the problem.

      • You seem extremely secure in your level of judgement vitriol spewed at me and anyone else who dares to be fat and exist in this society. First of all, it is absolutely possible to be fat and healthy and even in shape…I weighed 250 lbs, ate all organic, worked out with a trainer twice a week, ran 3-10 miles every morning, and ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon. I was very healthy, but my body simply didn’t want to let go of the weight. My family puts on weight easily and loses it with extreme difficulty. I was a pudgy kid who never ate anything from a box or package because I had extremely health conscious parents and I never slimmed out. However, because of being subject to ridicule and shaming because of my weight I spent 25 years of my life yo yo dieting up and down up to 100 lbs at a time and at this point my metabolism is pretty much shot.

        My best friend (who is a size 4 and can’t climb a flight of stairs without gasping for breath because she eats nothing but junk and smokes a pack of cigarettes a day but she looks “normal”) and I compared what we ate once, and we ate the same general amount except she ate more fast food and package foods than me and I focused more on fresh foods and shopped at the farmer’s market. But she comes from a genetically tall and slim family and I come from a family that strongly resemble short linebackers. If we sat in a bar together and were both eating from a plate of wings she inevitably would get looks of approval and I would get looks of judgement.

        To say fat isn’t “normal” is also not a biological or historical fact. There have always been people of different builds, sizes and weights, including fat people, throughout history. We have been surrounded by a media hysteria that says there is only one acceptable body type for humans when this is patently false. By encouraging acceptance of all body shapes and sizes what we do is create a more compassionate society where we can focus on health for health sake and not be made to feel like a failure if by listening to what our body wants we don’t all magically look like models.

        By turning us against each other the food and medical industry wins because we spend more time blaming individuals for so called lack of willpower and poor decision making, instead of focusing on a corrupt industry that has contaminated our food supply with GMO’s, chemical engineering, adding sugar to EVERYTHING, and advertising to trigger our biological impulses for fat, sugar and salt. Then the health industry wins because we become unhealthy from this crap non-food and end up needing more and more medications and hospitalizations. What is more likely – that as a society we have just suddenly thrown all our self control to the wind over the past 30 years or that these industries in the pursuit of greater profits have not only completely changed the so called “food” we eat but also worked hard to make sure the blame gets focused on individuals and not on them. Focus your vitriol on the real culprits here!

        Just because you have bought into the false information that has been spread so widely that it has taken on the tinge of “truth” doesn’t mask your blatant prejudice. Your assertions have no basis in science or fact no matter how many times you say them. And btw – my boyfriend takes deep offense that you think all overweight people are biologically unattractive. He finds me downright hot, and he isn’t the only one, and it isn’t in spite of or because of my weight.

        Overweight (which is a misnomer because that is saying there is a particular weight that everyone should be no matter what their genetic background or makeup) CAN be healthy and Thin CAN be unhealthy…Actions not appearances are the indicator and shame and prejudice will never inspire change.

      • After I had my hip surgery, I was trying to take control of the fibromyalgia/CFS that was continuing to keep me ill. The rheumatologist blithely told me that if I lost 40 pounds I’d feel terrific. I should have gotten it in writing. I felt far worse at the lower weight than at the higher one. A lot of the weight came back and I felt better. I have since started to get in control of some of the REAL problems (thyroid, and stress hormones) and am now feeling good as I lose weight again. Do I still have FM/CFS? Maybe. But it’s possible I never had them at all and that the hormones were to blame. No one really wants to take the time it takes to sort that out.

        • JP- Disappointing that the reheumatologist suggested that merely losing 40 pounds would make you feel better. I think there are numerous ways to lose weight, many of which are horrible ideas (e.g. mere calorie restriction/starvation). I don’t believe that being heavy is the root cause of other ailments. Rather, I believe it is a symptom. A good medical practitioner, in my opinion, would spend more time trying to understand the root cause of the problem. Sounds like you’ve figured out that hormones have an impact. But is there a natural way to get your hormone levels back in balance? I’m just curious if any of your practitioners have ever evaluated the health of your gut. For exmaple check this out: https://www.holisticprimarycare.net/topics/topics-o-z/psyche-some-a-spirit/1266-restoring-healthy-gut-function-is-key-to-the-chronic-fatigue-puzzle. Also, have you heard of GAPS? I think your comment about taking the time to sort this out is key. Good for you for continuing to try different approaches and researching it yourself!

          • I’m on the path. I pretty much ‘fired’ my doc, as much as we can do that up here. I found a brand new doc, who had been a physiotherapist. He has life experience and experience with aches and pains. A good fit. He has been pretty much letting me steer the course with the understanding that I share at least some of the glory/responsibility for whatever results! he’s pretty good for writing test requisitions and more than willing to give me copies of the results.

            I had already started haunting discussion forums. You have to be careful especially when you’re brain fogged, but they’ve been a life-saver.

            GUT…yeah…I am only just getting to the point where I want to face this. We have been gluten free for a few weeks. I was gearing up to go it alone in 2013, but dh suddenly decide (whoo hoo) to do it at the beginning of November. Who was I to argue. I haven’t looked much farther than this, but it’s one of the many things to get to. I work full time and still have energy issues (as well as a young boy with developmental disabilities…yes…I know…). We have both had our share of antibiotics and are far more ill than our quite healthy and now elderly parents…which is a pattern that seems shockingly common

          • Way to go JP – I’m rooting for you! I hope you’ll report back to let us know how it’s going. And do check out GAPS (Gut And Psychology/Physiology Syndrome) when you get a chance. You can even listen to the author, Natasha Campbell-McBride speak about it on youtube.

  10. He’s a disgusting industry shill, as evidenced by the time he was telling the public to get their families vaccinated as soon as possible, then when asked (in the same episode) if his family was getting vaccinated, he admitted that he had to ‘choose between being a doctor and being a dad,” so no, he would not be vaccinating his. But he’s rich.

  11. Dr. Oz is a Health trend setter and unfortunately I think he’s in the wrong people’s pocket. In my opinion there are multiple levels to eating healthy, there is the basic “food pyramid” principle which doesn’t take into account where the food comes from, if it’s organic or free of GMO’s, as long as it has X amount of protein, carbs, calories, etc. then it’s ok to eat.

    Then there is the organic GMO-free level of eating healthy that incorporate both “food pyramid” principle but also is concerned with where the food comes from, how is it grown because that is how you know if the food is nutrient dense.

    Lastly there is the level of eating healthy that incorporates all of this in a sustainable way by buying local, eating whats in season, reusing containers/recycling, joining CSA’s and growing your own organic food. Basically considering the big picture of our impact on this planet. I agree that it can be done on a budget but it’s not easy, it requires commitment, discipline and creativity.

    Dr. Oz is commercialized and I feel has good intentions but in the end is all about the benjamins, like all of the corporate world, but it in the end we all end up the same way it’s our journeys and legacy that make us different. how we live now affects how our children will be able to live after we are gone. ~Michelle Pescetta

  12. Good article. There’s a lot more to food than the sodium, protein,and fat content. I’ve never really seen Dr. Oz as a natural health kinda guy anyway; he seems to promote health in a very conventional way. As far as being able to afford the better ingredients, it’s not always possible to eat 100% healthy if you’re in the lower income levels. Sometimes it’s not a choice between eating out, getting something from Starbucks, or eating healthy, especially if you live at the poverty level… did you ever see the film “Food Stamped?” Those that are actually on food stamps can’t buy directly from the farmer most of the time, because they often don’t take food stamps; although many farmer’s markets are now taking them, which is helpful to those who need them. However, most people (and I say most, because there was a time in my life when my weekly food budget was about $2, which bought a week’s worth of Top Ramen) can afford to eat a little organic, and make some substitutions, like butter for margarine, or cage-free organic eggs instead of conventional eggs.

  13. Number 1 way I found to help save loads of money and eat locally and eat fresh is to join a CSA – your weekly farm share is fresh, local , often organic even if uncertified – a miracle in terms of environmental impact, local economy impact and impact on your health and budget.

  14. Your article and criticism are spot on. Especially the flawed diet heart hypothesis/ Thanks for such an informative article!

  15. Fantastic Article . . .I am lucky enough to work at a Holistic Medical/Dental/Spa where we have ties to local farm fresh foods, raw milk and an organic Bistro . . . Have been to some Weston Price Conferences courtesy of our wonderful employer . . Too bad that Dr Oz is catering to whoever is lining his pockets instead of years of factual information. Just cause there’s a Dr in his name doesn’t mean he’s right

  16. Doctor Oz entertains me, because the message he gives to the masses is different than what he does for his own family. His children are not vaccinated, and he only feeds his family organic food. He has been pimped out by big pharma over and over again. By all means if someone has a very low food budget I think they should be encouraged to by vegetables and whole meats instead of processed food, which I think may have been the point of the article, but to blatantly lie about the health benefits of grass-fed and organic foods over conventional is a blatant lie, big-agra manipulation at its finest. In Time magazine no less.

  17. Okay. Try eating healthy on a $200 food stamp budget (for two people for the month) with no other money for food, no storage space, only a small, over the fridge area for frozen food, in a rural area where “organic” has not even been heard of, and the produce is terrible.Such is the nutritional vacuum of where i live, and we have no money to move away. We do not have a fancy car (or any car) no phone, no internet at home (I am at the library.) Your assumption that all fat people are fat because they have too much is disgusting. We can barely afford one meal a day. Anything else above that is just a small bowl of potato soup. My husband weighs 280 pounds. He eats a normal amount of food a day (one plate of food three times a day.) He was 180 then he had to go on antidepressants, and gained this in a year and a half.

    Write about how to eat healthy in this sort of situation… then I might get your respect.

    • Revenwyn, thank you for your comments. First of all, I want to clarify that I did not mean to imply that overweight people get that way because they have too much. My point was that, *if* people want to lose weight, I don’t believe that following Dr. Oz’s suggestions will work.

      Regarding your budget of $100 per person per month, I don’t think that either my suggestions *or* Dr. Oz’s suggestions will work for you on that budget. I must admit, it sounds like a *very* tough situation you’re in and I unfortunately don’t have any magic answers for you. For what it’s worth, I will share that there was a time in my life where I had a very hard time making ends meet and didn’t have any family to fall back on. There was, however, one thing that I did have, which I now believe is more valuable than any amount of money. And that is friends. I leaned on them pretty heavily during this time – for financial assistance, housing, and food. Combined with working my tail off (sometimes just for barter), I eventually emerged from this situation. I sometimes feel that asking for help is a bit taboo in this country. It was certainly very difficult for me. But I think we all have times when we need help and we shouldn’t be afraid to ask. Especially now that I know how much joy one can get from helping others. That is, after all, why I invest time in this blog, which I don’t make a penny off of, and which doesn’t in any way relate to my “day job.”

      Best of luck to you both. And remember – every day is a new day with new opportunities.

    • Having been in a situation with no money, no subsidies, and no one to rely on I had to get creative and began gardening in my urban back “yard” (read 3 x 10 concrete pad). I bought a few $1 packets of seeds and used found items to create a planting box (bricks, stones, dirt, etc.). Not only did gardening improve my quality of food, but I was outside a lot more, exercising, and developed a hobby in gardening and canning that has affected the rest of my life and improved my state of mind during that period. If you have a few minutes a day (obviously during a growing month), you might want to try gardening. Also, if you have a sunny window you can grow a lot things inside during the winter, too and it really helps with the outlook part of things.
      To help motivate you, I spend about $120 a month for three of us (making baby food) because of gardening now…Good luck!

  18. I have learned from working on Prop 37, to label GMOs, that the media all seem to have a pro – gmo bias and will take away from an interview what their bias is… and publish this… there may have been much else that Dr Oz said that was not printed in Time Magazine. I have yet to see an unbiased interviewer on organic foods in the mainstream press.

  19. I just re-watched his Oct 17 GMO episode where he has Jeffery Smith on and discloses that his wife was the narrator for Genetic Roulette. In his attempts to appear neutral he says the only way to get pro-GMO scientists on is to boot off all the other guests first. I remember reading about some thugs that went after him because of that episode. I’m thinking he’s afraid for his own and his family’s safety.

  20. So I’m wondering if everyone ate pasture raised meat, how in the world would you find enough pasture to raise enough meat and dairy for everyone to eat? The diet that is best for your health, for the environment and most importantly for the animals, is to go vegan. Even Bill Gates has said the future of food is vegan. Meat is totally unsustainable and we must fundamentally rethink what we choose to eat if we are going to feed the growing, human population.

    • Sheri – I’m so glad you asked this! Unfortunately Monsanto spends millions of dollars on a brilliant marketing campaign to convince the world that the answer is NO, sustainable agriculture can not feed the world (which is why the world needs Monsanto’s GM seeds, of course!). Have you ever heard Joel Salatin’s response? His answer is yes, absolutely we can feed the world through sustainable acriculture! The details can be read here: http://www.acresusa.com/toolbox/reprints/Sept10_Salatin.pdf. Personally I think that Joel is better qualified to answer this question than Bill Gates.

  21. You ever heard of food deserts? Most of the time “food snobs” or as you put it, people that want to know where there food comes from, forget about the millions of american adults and children that are living on slim budgets and live in communities where there is little to no access to even a GMO tomato. Try going to South Central LA or the Southside of Chicago and ask for organic produce. When I think of food snobs, i think of people that forget/don’t care about food deserts + forget that not everyone has the privilege to know where there food comes from.

    • Jay, yes, I’ve heard of food deserts. They’re areas that are far from large supermarkets. What did people do 100 years ago when there were no supermarkets? Could that be part of the reason people were so much healthier than they are today? If I lived where you live in Southern California, I would be even more motivated to follow the suggestions I listed above. For example, I would make time every few weeks for a family outing to some of the amazing pick-your-own farms in Southern California http://www.pickyourown.org/CAla.htm. I would can, pickle and freeze these foods so that I could save money and be more efficient than people in big cities, who make daily trips to supermarkets. I would use this site to find good sources for local pasture-raised meats. And I would participate in the many free Whole Foods meetup groups or WAPF chapter meetings to learn about these timeless food preservation and preparation techniques and also network with other like-minded people who can give me even more ideas.

  22. Really well done much need critique of the article and of the appearance of Dr. Oz selling out. For him to stay on T.V. he needs advertising revenue and if he trashes Big Food Companies his show is done. I really appreciate the resources you offer as well.

  23. Nice article. Count me among the people with small budgets and very frugal lifestyles who buy the highest quality food from local sources, or grow it myself or barter, etc.

    You should’ve made the obvious major point about Oz’s foolish statement on peanut oil: the difference between poly and mono unsaturated fats. The peanut oil is much higher in the poly, and those are the ones that are the big problem when consumed in large quantities, because they are vulnerable to oxidative damage, both outside and inside the body. That’s why olive oil is a great staple and peanut oil isn’t suitable for use beyond minor seasoning (just like its cousin sesame oil).

    • Very good point renleideshengyn. In addition to Olive Oil which, in it’s true cold pressed, extra virgin state, is a great staple, I think that it’s a good idea to also have animals fats on hand because they’re even *more* shelf stable (one does need to take some precautions with storing EVOO, like dark containers, cool temperatures, etc) and also very healthy. Lard (pork fat) is quite cheap. I get a quart-sized tub for $6, but even cheaper is to just buy fatback (it’s available at farmer’s markets or even online sources). Then I grind it up in my food processor and put it into a pot in my oven at 250 degrees for an hour or more. Strain it into jars and store it in your basement or pantry. I also always collect drippings from beef, poultry and lamb and save them as well. These, together with clarified butter, are my cooking fats of choice.

  24. Both Ella K.L. and Shakespeariantomato are over the top, in my opinion. I agree with Ella that in general, a high BMI predisposes a person to degenerative dis-ease, if not now, then as such a person ages.

    BUT I agree with Stomato that being overweight is not at all due simply to “overeating.” Genetic make-up is an extraordinarily powerful factor. The “Jack Sprat” phenomenon is REAL. I can eat pasta and other starchy stuff day after day without gaining weight. But my wife immediately begins putting pounds on if she does the same thing.

    In my experience, “eating less” is NOT the “magic answer” to permanent weight loss, particularly for those people who have been overweight for years. Such a belief is held, in the main, by people who have themselves never been seriously overweight.

    Ella K.L. needs to do a great deal more research and a great deal more thinking. The “face it, you are just a fat, lazy slob” position is shallow, ridiculous and heartless. My wife tried for decades to permanently shed her excess weight, without success. She has finally resorted to a mini-gastric bypass, as we felt that the risks of such a procedure are significantly less than the risks of degenerative dis-ease.

  25. I’m pretty sure you misunderstood Dr Oz. In that article, he was giving tips to eat healthier to those who can’t afford buying organic food. And he’s right, American food isn’t more unhealthy than European or Asian food — there are very unhealthy foods in other countries too. The problem here is that the amount of people who buy those unhealthy snacks when there are healthy organic or non-organic healthy foods, and insanely large American portions. (A burger a week wouldn’t hurt your body unless you add some suspicious sauce in it. Cheddar cheese for instance is healthy. But since it’s high on fat, it (only) becomes a problem when you eat it a lot. And he’s right on “food-snobs”, there ARE many annoying food-snobs. I keep seeing people who say things like, “Spend your money or organic food, you’ll spend more on doctor bills if you don’t.” Right, but when your income is very limited you have only two options: Non-organic food, or no food at all. (And without ‘no food at all’ we would die within a week, you see.)

    And I’m sorry but, to use such a strong language like, “Shame on you!” you need to show your profession on the subject (and as your bio reads, you are not a doctor, nutritionist, or an epidemiologist.) He is a doctor with years of experience, while I support questioning doctors’ advices sometimes, I find it annoying that you basically attacked him without even discussing this with him.

  26. PS – Thank you so much for your post about Dr. Oz’s cukoo comments about the healthfulness of unhealthful foods! About canned foods… When I was a youngster, my best friend’s father told me he’d once worked in a Campbell’s soup factory, and that he’d never eat a Campbell’s product again. There is nothing like growing your own, or buying from someone who grows their own.

    With regard to the person who has a 200 dollar food stamp budget, I hope you will do as much research as you can with regard to eating healthily on food stamps. Dr. Mercola has some info that might be useful.

  27. You make some very good points, and I thank you.

    I tend to lean toward the best, better, good, bad philosophy of buying food. I choose from each category depending on what I can afford and what is available. I always try to eat the “best” of the dirty dozen.

    Best is locally-grown (preferably my backyard), organic, non-GMO

    Better is locally-grown family farm produce but not necessarily organic. (Local small farms tend toward lower pesticide use than big factory farms.) Less better is organic produce shipped in from afar (who knows if it is really organic and mega-travel can lead to nutrient loss.

    Good are healthy vegetables in either the fresh or frozen state. I work on the premise that standard grocery vegetables are better than no vegetables at all – if these are all someone can afford than they should not be discouraged from eating them. I would rather see someone fill their grocery cart with fresh and frozen produce of any type than fill it with processed junk.

    Bad are most canned veggies and almost all processed foods (I would say “all” except I try to avoid universal condemnation).

    It is impossible in one comment or one blog post to cover every possibility adequately, but thank you for opening up the discussion.

    • Thanks for your list, RoseAnne. It makes a lot of sense. I would argue,however, that some processed foods are definitely much better than others and as such I’d encourage you to continue your list down a few notches. Many people with low incomes live in food deserts or depend on food banks, WIC and food stamps. Although you can chose your foods with foods stamps, the choices might not be that great in some poor areas. And in the case of food banks, you often only get the choice of whether or not to eat the food you’ve been given–no actual choice about the food you get. Helping people make healthier choices often means meeting them where they’re at. I’ve been receiving food through WIC and now a food bank to help round-out what I’m able to grow in my own garden, and it’s an eye-opening experience. Making healthier choices is hard, when the healthiest things you’re offered are a bag of plain white rice and a can of green beans.

  28. I agree with one of your readers that there is a good chance Dr. Oz was
    blackmailed into this situation. Some of you say he had three programs
    saying organic is healthy and chemicals in food are bad. This, of course,
    goes counter to the big corporations, bio-tech and big pharma and some
    politicians. If one runs counter to their agenda their children may be
    eliminated. A recent example was a posting on the CNBC web site by a CNBC
    executive. A quote from a Google listing:

    “Market Watch STILL runs story of $43 trillion lawsuit against US banks
    after CNBC erases their version following murder of CNBC executive’s
    children.”

    The article appeared on Market Watch – since taken down. And the “Wall
    Street Journal”.

    The original article is still out there. I saw it today.

    The CNBC executive named names. Some of the highest people in government.
    The power people gave a pretty harsh warning to dissenters who go against
    their agenda.

  29. Another thought I had is this: I am not a “food snob” for trying to eat REAL, WHOLE foods, foods that are as close to the way they were created as possible. I am not a “food snob” because I don’t want to have to eat all sorts of non-essential, and even harmful, additives the food industry uses to INCREASE THEIR PROFITS. I happen to be a Christian, and there is a Christian teaching that applies very well to what has happened to much of what is called food in this country.

    The Bible says not to eat food that has been sacrificed to idols, and the kinds of foods Oz is talking about have been sacrificed to the idol of MONEY. That is, the food industry could scarcely care less about what I eat, or the state of my health. They care only about their profits.

    The REAL “food snobs” are many of the people who run and who appear on the “food channel” on TV. Many of them have turned food into a fetish, and into some kind of grotesque art. People are starving all over the planet, and they are spending huge amounts of money on ridiculously complicated dishes.

  30. Love the points you make in this article! If we spend smater not only will our wasteline benefit, but so will our wallet!

  31. Eating real food is simply eating what your grandparents ate … were they food snobs for eating raw milk, grassfed beef and organic produce? Nope, they were just eating normally! We just want to do the same that’s all. The media is framing this as an elite vs everyone else kind of issue. It isn’t … Everyone wants to eat wholesome clean food. The issue is that not everyone can eat as much clean wholesome food as some are able to do. This is an issue of economics and has nothing to do with snobbery. The media frames those who advocate for clean wholesome food as elitists who feel they are better than everyone else. Don’t fall for it! This is a false either-or situation … they would have you believe that you must eat industrial food without asking about what goes into it OR be a self-righteous food snob in the eyes of your friends and family. In fact, if you choose to look into what’s in your food you would just be a normal guy/gal concerned about what you put in your body. Nothing snobby about that!

    I wrote a post awhile back with more of my views on the subject called Grandma was a Real Foodie if you’d like to drop by.

  32. Dave, you need to join the crowd, and enjoy bagged, dyed cotton candy and multi-flavored fried pork rinds from WalMart. Now that’s some goood, healthful eating! Oh, and if you’re ever in Texas, try some chicken-fried bacon with white gravy.

  33. I wish for once when non professionals do articles about something, especially when trying to use statistics or studies, or “learned facts”, that they would present “proof” for their statements in footnotes. (Not just a select few footnotes) , but footnotes for a statement with such importance as this blog post was based on. Here is a copy and paste I’d dare anyone to prove. You wrote the following: “What about omega 3 fatty acids, which are sorely lacking in the meat of animals raised on corn and soy-based feed? What about the conjugated linoleic acid or CLA, with its anticancer properties, which is found primarily in grass-fed animals? How about the difference in vitamin D content? And of course he only casually mentions it in his article, but apparently he doesn’t think much of the huge difference in safety between pastured vs. feedlot meats”…….. Pay attention to the statement: “ANTICANCER properties” ….. That supported is by ZERO long term studies!!! There is zero proof that eating any animal whether organic or not, will have an anti-cancer effect!!! We’d all have to live and die in this generation and be tested for every single aspect of food and diet to “prove” anything. Does eating naturally made foods and little prosessed foods make you healthier? , of course, chemicals are bad. It’s kindergarten level smarts to know that. But to grab the latest “study” and run off a theory is why this country has 7000 diet ideas !! And it’s got to stop. Live a full life, be kind, eat naturally when you can, help others, drink wine when you want, enjoy cake at birthdays, and be grateful for the years your given! And more than worry about which oil or which thing will make you live longer when you put it in your mouth, make sure to look both ways when you cross the street!! That’s about it folks! Decide to stop wasting time with the “latest” thought and get out there and LIVE!!!!

    • Lisa, thanks for the feedback. You’re right that I should be more thorough with hyperlinks and/or footnotes. Sadly, Dr. Oz’s Time article makes much more audacious claims, yet hasn’t a single reference to any study to speak of. For instance, he states up front that, “the American food supply is…nutritionally sound…and with a few simple considerations, comparable to most elite organic diets.” I beg to differ. But your first sentence implies that his “Dr.” title gives him the right to make statements without backing them up whereas I apparently must be held to a higher standard.

      As for the subject you raised about omega 3 fatty acids, grass-fed meats and cancer, just do your own research on the topic and feel free to report back to us. I’ve found tons of references to studies that support the claims. This article, written by an osteopathic physician, does a nice job of listing them at the bottom: http://www.mercola.com/beef/omega3_oil.htm. Some of the studies show that grass-fed animals have high Omega 3’s. Other studies show that people who eat diets high in Omega-3s over the long-term have lower cancer rates. Now put those two sets of studies together.

      So why did I not link to the studies in the article and/or provide a comprehensive meta-analysis of all of the scientific literature on the topic in my article? Because that was not the point of the article, just as it was not the point of Dr. Oz’s article. This article was to share my opinion about the disservice that Dr. Oz’s article is doing to society by badmouthing people who buy organic and to share with my readers another approach to eating healthy on a budget.

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