Good food. It’s still hard to find.
Driving over 2,000 miles from Chicago to San Diego was an education in hot dog varieties.
Food is a complicated issue. The complexities are beyond me and this post. Please don’t be offended by the oversimplification that follows. It’s the only way I can begin to process exposure to endless supply of sausage encased meat and take action. Simple can be good. Simple can inspire. Simple can start to break down the problem.
There’s no one formula for solving issues with food. But education and access to healthy food seem to me two undeniably important building blocks to change.
One without the other and you’ve got nothing.
We are lazy creatures. If we are taught something, we want it to be easy. If we are to take action on something, we also want it to be easy.
There are brands doing this. But they are not (yet) found on the road or in the middle of the country.
Want to know what a high class problem is, but shouldn’t be? When you’re over-educated on food. I’m aware of what things do to my body. So when I don’t have access to the good stuff I get angry. First it’s a selfish anger. I want to feel good so I want to eat good. There is nothing healthy at Love’s truck stops (and there were several between Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California). Then I get angry at the system. I get angry that my anger feels like a privilege. I get angry that others may not have enough exposure to what good food is to even know they should be angry. Then I get overwhelmed thinking about how complex the problem is — how many people are diminishing their quality of life with poor quality food and don’t know (or care) what they are doing to themselves.
Seeing a guy refill a 64 ounce plastic cup of Mountain Dew, grab two more 20 oz. bottles of the same yellow no. 5 high fructose laden caffeine syrup, and then snag a pack of powdered sugar donuts for sustenance. That rattled me.
Maybe he needed all of that liquid to wash down the powdered sugar from the donuts?
Shockingly, this man seemed normal in height and weight, but I couldn’t help but think of his insides. Of the impending diabetes diagnosis. Of the healthcare issues and bills coming his way. Of the increased healthcare costs coming my way. That the problem is not just him. I can’t blame him. I can’t point the finger and pass judgement. I shouldn’t poke fun. His problem is my problem. Why? Because with privilege comes responsibility. And that privilege is in effect the problem. That making healthy choices shouldn’t be a privilege, it should be a right.
I’m still angered by the excess of rotating meats, Mountain Dew and powdered sugar donuts.
I’m doing three simple things to take more responsibility for the problem:
Voting with my dollar. If enough of us buy what’s good and avoid what’s not, the supply will continue to change. Healthy options will abound. Big companies will continue to change what they sell. Small companies will continue to launch and become bigger companies.
Staying up on the issues. Education is on-going and there are several organizations (too many to count) that are thought-leaders and action-takers.
Civil Eats: Daily news and commentary about the American food system.
Slow Food USA: Inspiring individuals and communities to change the world through food that is good, clean and fair for all.
The Food Tank: A think tank for food focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters.
Aligning my time with my interests. At the most basic level I do not want to be part of the problem. This means serving companies and people that are part of the solution.
If you too are sick of road trips that begin and end with hot dogs join me in taking simple steps towards change.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue. Comment here or email me Dessa.Brennan@gmail.com