Sunday, November 18, 2012

Food Desert Dinner

In pursuing my interest in food and nutrition I have often come to face to face with this term "Food Deserts" which I understood by definition and their impact on the current obesity rate in the United States...  

Food Deserts are defined as  "areas that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lowfat milk, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet," according to the Center for Disease Control or Prevention (CDC).  

• Residents in 20 percent of rural counties live more than 10 miles from a supermarket.
• For every additional supermarket in a census tract, produce consumption increases for 32 percent of African Americans and 11 percent of whites.

Yet as I soon found out from participating in this assignment knowing all these facts and figures around the topic of food deserts and actually experiencing it first hand are extremely different. Having your soul source of food being limited to what packaged goods can be stocked on convenience store shelves for a not so convenient price and trying to get the most basic amount of nutrients into your diet is unfathomable to me seeing I could barely meet my requirements for one cohesive meal.

For the recipe challenge I ventured over to the local BP on the corner of Como and Raymond to see what I could find. There was one man at the pump outside, the one store employe, and stacks upon stacks of processed, prepackaged goodies. With my $15.00 in hand I began to circle the store once, twice, three, and even four times before I was able to find something, ANYTHING that I could work with that could actually supply a well balanced meal with whole grains, protein, fruits and vegetables. I settled on grabbing ...
1 Loaf of Whole Wheat Bread 
1 Raspberry Chobani Greek Yogurt
1 Fresh Chopped Fruit Cup
1 Fresh Veggie Plate
1 Can of Tuna
TOTAL: $13.32

Something to chew on!
Notice how you will not find fresh fruit nor fresh veggies on there. That's because they are instead reffered to as "Taxable" because they were put into plastic containers for your convienence. So if we are to be promoting people to consume fresh fruits and veggies, why are they the most expensive and taxed items on my receit? 

The Meal
Berry Tuna Salad Sandwichs and Fresh veggies. Bassed off of Mark Bittman's Tuna Salad Recipe on pg. 162

1. Chop up the broccoli and strawberries.
2. Add canned tuna, yogurt, salt and pepper. 
3. Serve on two slices of whole wheat toasted. 

I now realize how easy it would be to start compromising my health with the lack of resources and limited budget for I was even tempted just to grab the chicken and veggie frozen pizza I saw in the freezer section, or just a box or cereal for then at least I knew I was getting some vitamins and minerals. Over all a great learning experience and a fun eye opening challenge.

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