Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm Poor So I Get To Be Obese

That's what she said as she explained that she had to buy the donuts because she lives on a fixed income.  I suggested that her statement lacked logic.  She then said that it was hard to be poor and thin because good food costs more than junk food.  Aside from the donuts factor she did, though, have a point.  Poverty and obesity seem strangely connected.  A dollar can buy a meal at a McDonald's or at a Jack In The Box.  A dollar could also buy dried beans but somehow a fat laden fast food burger seems more appealing than a bag of legumes.
Early in our conversation I felt a little irritated -- like she was giving herself permission to be over weight and to endanger her health.  Maybe it was the donuts thing.  Then I found myself agreeing with her.  It is hard to eat health inducing foods when the other choices seem so much more attractive and so much more possible.
For her, food might just mean all the good stuff she can't afford.
It's the meaning of the food we eat that has the power.  Our task is to dis-empower the fattening, health depriving foods and empower those that we can afford and that will help sustain us.  That's not an easy task.

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