One Catch-All New Year’s Resolution

One Catch-All New Year’s Resolution

Improve your health, save your retirement, save the world!

This potential New Year’s resolution is not intended so much as a challenge, but as a mouthwatering opportunity to see the world with new eyes. It began as a capstone project for a master’s degree in Food Studies at New York University, when Leanne Brown decided to create a healthy cookbook for people living on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or in simpler terms, food stamps. It sounds grim, and for one out of seven Americans, the reality of eating on food stamps may be grim. But the book isn’t. Instead, Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day may bring tears to your eyes because it is so beautifully done. Not only are the dishes healthy, creative, easy, and inexpensive to prepare—Potato Leek Pizza, Chana Masala, and Brussel Sprouts Hash and Eggs, to name a few—they look like gourmet works of art, thanks to the fine food photography. This book may force a tough question: Why am I not choosing to eat so well?

Part of what makes the 176-page cookbook so radical is that it is not radical at all. The recipes are “vegetable-centric” because the food choices made in the book are all very healthy, and because meat is expensive. But Brown includes a “half veggie burger” (a mix of ground beef and lentils), as well as her husband’s favorite, beef stroganoff. As your mouth waters over the healthy foods, you start doing the math.

The book is also radical because the digital version is free. Just go to Brown’s website——and join the half a million people who have downloaded a copy. You can also become part of her movement. To raise money for printing the book last summer, Brown offered to give away one copy to a needy person for every $25 copy sold. The campaign aimed to raise $10,000—it raised almost $150,000. Printed copies are now $20 with huge discounts for not-for-profits.

If I chose to spend only $120 per month on healthy food, I would most likely:

  • Eat less processed food
  • Eat less meat
  • Achieve a healthy weight
  • Save on doctor bills
  • Take more vacations
  • Afford to retire
  • Not worry so much
  • Reduce global warming

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