Overweight kids with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, what is going on with the food choices in our community? We are eating more processed foods than ever or what CNN is calling “America’s killer diet.” Over the last ten years portion sizes have ballooned up as fast as our waistlines. Just twelve years ago you had an obesity rate of 1 in 6 adults where now 2/3 of people are obese. And this is now spreading down the ladder to our children. We have the benefits of stores stocked with foods of all types yet we are malnourished compared to those living in the Caribbean who is eating fresh produce, seafood and meats daily.
What has happened to family dinner time that now the majority of it is now provided by Ronald McDonald, Colonel Sanders, a White Castle, the King or a little red headed girl named Wendy? Our diets are riddled with sugars and oils high Omega 6 such as in seed oils and soybean oil which are linked to disorders such as depression, high cholesterol, suicidal thoughts and even criminality. A lot of the foods that say lite, diet and sugar free are loaded with these oils and sugars. In an average week most people consume more than 3 pounds of sugar through soda, candy, sugar added juice, cereals chips and any other processed food items.
The calorie content in most of the meals that we eat out at restaurants or our favorite fast food joint is about one to two thousand calories and that is per meal. This is pretty much the total amount of calories most people need in a day all consumed in just one meal. Along with this meal a person is going to eat at least two more meals, a few snacks and drinks which all undoubtedly will be full of fats and sugars. This has become the norm for part of society where vegetables are seen with disdain and French fried potatoes are now the vegetable of choice. But we do eat our vegetables, what about the salad bar where we gobble up salads in which we slather ranch dressings and toppings such as bacon bits, cheese and nuts, making this just as fattening as eating a couple slices of full topping pizza or hamburgers.
Cooking has become a thing of the past. A lot of people complain of not being able to cook or not knowing what types of foods would make a healthy meal. This could be because with the growing need for a second income our mothers are now in the workplace keeping them from being home with their children teaching them how to prepare proper meals. People also complain that they don’t enjoy healthy foods due to a lack of taste etc. Knowing what comprises a healthy meal and one that is tasty is as easy as a trip to you local library. There are cookbooks and recipes that can help to deal with our lack of knowledge with cooking good healthy foods.
In the Black community we are getting away from our roots and eating more fast food than ever before. We have made choices to allow our children to make their own food choices and consume candy, fast food and processed junky foods on a daily basis. A few of us want to put the responsibility from our actions on others and sue fast food restaurants as if they brought the food to us and forced us to consume it. What good is a lawsuit if you aren’t going to live long enough to do anything with the money? It is our responsibility to make sure that we consume the correct types of foods.
People constantly say that soul food is contradictory to healthy foods and that is just not true. We can eat healthy and tasty it is all a matter of choice. Sure Blacks are known for having full figured bodies, but somewhere along the way people took that to mean overweight bodies, just more propaganda that we have to deal with in the Black community. Taking pride in having a healthy body should be a priority that we as adults can pass down to our children breaking this pattern of food abuse.
We have to understand the health risks that obesity brings to us, our families, children and community. Starting healthy eating clubs or having healthy eating classes at the community center might be some options. We should also start getting the exercise we need to go along with our new found healthy lifestyles. Taking a little time to ensure that we have a handle on our health seems like a no brainer since the majority of us out here are lacking quality health care. Since health care is a problem keeping ourselves as fit as possible will surely help to offset this and many other problems.