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Real Food Challenge!

(post, Rita Jacobs)

     As I read about ethical food, organic food, buying locally, and many other food concerns it strikes home that my sister on foodstamps can’t eat this way.  Does my working sister have time and energy and resources to provide her child with whole foods at the very least?  The answer is no.  Did anyone take the time to write a guide for getting the most out of your foodstamps?  Did anyone say please don’t buy processed foods until they are required to label GMO’s. Does anyone care about the participation of the poor in any food movements?  I’m not talking about wealthy people buying the poor food here.  I’m talking about voting with the dollars you have, in the way that you can, and best meeting your families nutritional requirements.  I want to talk to the Walmart shoppers who run in at midnight when their foodstamps come in.

     First, educate yourself about nutrition. Say you like meat and believe it is a MUST have. Many people live without it, ask how they do it and pick up a used book or two to help guide you in figuring out how to do it once in a while yourself.  You don’t have to swear off meat forever but it’s good to know those beans really are good for you.  Do you know that white flour and white sugar make up the bulk of the processed foods people buy?  Do you know they aren’t that good for you; they are just cheap stuff to sell you.  The profits from selling bad food are enormous.  Are you buying it? Do you buy it because you feel too tired to cook?  Do you know the nutritional qualities of processed budget meals are so bad that eating them starts a cycle of making you too tired to cook so you reach for more boxes and bags?

     Today organic food costs too much. Today you can’t afford grass-fed beef.  Should you give on eating better?  Today you are worn out.  Should you give up on eating better? Should you give up on trying to feed your children better?  I am asking you to read on, please and let’s find something you can do. 
Do you have better than basic cable and internet?  Do you have a landline plus a cellphone you don’t need for work.  Do you need to spend time in a salon in order to look presentable for work? (I’m talking fancy cuts and colors).  Do you ever buy used clothing, can you use it? Do you go the movies? Do you buy CDs and DVD’s and games? Do you get them used? Now, if you absolutely had to could you find some spare change?  For most people, the answer is going to a yes to something somewhere that can be cut back.  Why should your food budget be what is left over after you have your fun and create your image?  Why is it the thing you need to live and stay healthy ranks last in your humble opinion?  Go ahead, comment away.

     Don’t just line up at Walmart if you are a meat-eater.   Check the sales at local grocery stores for meat.  Save up and buy a freezer so you can keep a variety of sale meats on hand and more than a few choices per week.  Get a big crock pot and a cookbook that gives you ideas for healthy soups and meals you can be cooking in it while you are at work.  Plan to eat a cooked dinner every night made from real foods.  Fresh fruit can be washed and handed out when a kid wants a snack. There is truly nothing faster than a pear, plumb, apple, etc. or a bowl of soup from a crockpot. Stop drinking sodas and start making tea.  Have to have it sweet, add Splenda.
     I’m just asking that you buy real food. I’m asking that cook real food. I’m asking that you serve real food.  You’d be surprised at how cheap used cookbooks can be! I was. I found out that with a freezer , we spend less eating real food than processed foods. That‘s right, I don’t have a cell phone but we eat good. We don’t go to movies, we rent them six months later. My hair is down to my waist and I color it red with henna myself at home. Its gorgeous. I have not been to a salon in three years. Sure it’s not for everyone and everyone would make different choices in where to spend and where to cut back.

     Can we work our way into the food movement with baby steps?  Can we start by cooking, serving and eating one cooked from scratch meal per day? It doesn’t have to be fancy. Everyone has to start somewhere. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel good food is only for the rich. Can’t everyone participate to best of their ability? Can we start one meal at a time? Is it too much to ask?