Bringing Thought to Food

Food feeds us more than beyond substance in our bellies.  Food helps with energy, learning, and supports recuperation when we are sick. Each year, eating healthy grows increasingly more important as we continue to educate ourselves on what we put into our bodies.

Recently, results of a study from Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto found that for people in Ontario with diabetes under the age of 65, being in a lower socioeconomic bracket increases their risk of death.

This is not a surprise.  With fast food chains, and processed food companies purposely targeting lower income families with their cheap price points, and ease of convenience, how does someone earning id="mce_marker"0.00 to 13.00 an hour compete with the rising prices in foods when there is barely enough money at the end of the week to pay for the roof over their heads?  We can’t convince employers to pay people more, or landlords to cut back on rent, but we can try educating each and every person about the importance of eating healthy, and that it can be done within their means.

To some, there is nothing worse than filling your cart with whole foods, only to nearly faint at the checkout as they’re being rung through – but if learning to shop wise, ignoring the call of the centre aisles, and knowing food prices, filling up the cart may become less worrisome for those with tighter wallets.

More than ever we need to educate everyone we can about the importance of trying to eat as healthy as possible, and if able – to really focus on eating local.  It’s as though we are dealing in a huge conflict between corporate fast food restaurants who hire top notch PR and Marketing people to convince you their food is “real” and “healthy” and local farmers who can barely make it through a season without dealing with unexpected weather from climate change – increasing the cost of their food, and limiting even further – who can afford to pay for it.

With diabetes and heart disease on the rise, what can we do?  Food banks may receive large quantities of donations from locals; however the foods generously donated are unhealthy, thus enabling those using the services to remain in processed food limbo.

A few years back, I participated in “The Do the Math Challenge.” For one week, I ate as a single woman on income assistance would eat.  I went to our local Food Bank, and was only able to eat the foods I received.  The challenge was for one week.  We were to blog about our experiences, and share them with our peers.

I lasted three days.  I became dizzy, nauseous, lethargic, dehydrated, and weak.  Three days of Honeycomb Cereal, white bread, white rice, Kraft Dinner, margarine, and No-Name brand hot dogs.  It was a terrible experience, and its how some people on Welfare, Disability Pensions, Mothers Allowance, and Employment Insurance survive.  And why is this?  Because there are so many people out there who believe the best deal, is a Wendy’s Value Menu.

To educate others, we must first educate ourselves, and while all those who donate each year what they can to their local Food Banks, there are other options for donating.  Food Banks Canada (www.foodbanks.ca) has an option for donating money instead of dry goods, and funds are distributed Canada wide.  Or, if you want to keep it local you can donate directly to the Share Society by visiting their website.  A list of healthy food donations can be found here on The Stop Community Centrewebsite.

Everyone deserves to eat healthy whole foods, and the first step is education.  For instance,  IS possible to enjoy healthy meals for dollars a day, and educating the gracious food bank donor – don’t donate anything you yourself wouldn’t eat.

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