Eating Healthy is not Always an Option

Flickr: mswine

In “If You Haven’t Been On Food Stamps, Stop Trying to Influence Government Policy,” Latoya Peterson leads with a request to bloggers and journalists to “stop the madness” with regards to how we write about government assistance. Further down in her essay, she shares this haunting anecdote:

I have a memory, from long ago, where I am sitting in the parking lot of a McDonalds, with my mom, trying to count out 63 pennies from the floor around the car, the change jar, and the pavement around the car in order to purchase two hamburgers from McDonalds for our evening meal. Cheap food exists for a reason. 63 cents doesn’t go far in the grocery store if you want a hot meal, and have no where for food prep. (Something that people also conveniently forget about – a lot of eating well on a budget requires prep with at least a hot plate, running water, and basic utensils. If you don’t have these things, you have to eat ready made food. Needless to say, living out of a car doesn’t provide you with consistent access to these things.) But a whole hamburger meant a lot to a seven-year-old stomach that was going to go hungry…These are broke people choices.

I’m sure that if I shared this story on the NYT Health blog, there would be people berating my mother for buying me a hamburger and not, say, an apple or something. Or maybe some dried lentils we could have soaked overnight on the carburetor using a car fluid funnel and woken up to a wonderfully healthy and cheap pinch of beans.

Peterson also discusses food deserts, race and class and how unrealistic it is to expect “farmer’s markets to magically replace a missing food infrastructure.” Read the rest, here.

  • nandalal rasiah

    it is true that eating healthy is not always an option for the urban poor. It takes time and an adventuresome palate to find economical and accessible alternatives to fast food. I eat tuna and sardines straight from the can with hot sauce and a fork. None of those items are necessarily expensive, require extensive prep time or a full kitchen. Furthermore, the Bittman/Pollan/NYT Wellblog crowd is convinced that you need mostly food items which do require much time, a kitchen and money–namely, carbohydrates. A protein and fat-biased diet is way more realistic (and healthier–goodbye, hyperinsulinemia!)for people with little time or money than the moronic dictum, “Eat less, mostly plants.”

  • Complete kitchen

    You are right at certain points that Eating healthy is not an always option.. But we know that health is wealth. So we have to take care of our health. I am also big foodies and junk foods are mine favorites. But due to major disease. I have to keep extract control over it.
    Complete kitchen

  • Anna John

    I use hot sauce to improve everything savory. So glad you commented!

  • Anna John

    Another foodie who loves junk food! Thanks for reading and commenting.