Feeding America Through the Front Page
The video above shows you the cold truth about how we live in a system that is designed to make you consume more meat and dairy products. It is not that grocery stores like Albertsons do not have grocery deals on fruits and vegetables. They do, but the healthy whole foods are placed on the very last page of the ads. The problem with that is most people do not even read till the last page of these ads.
Drawing parallels between systemic racism and the way we market produce, it vaguely reminds me of the 1950s and 60s when people of color were forced to sit at the back of the bus while white Caucasians were given the privilege to sit in the front*. The deliberate placement of certain groups in positions of power can result in a behavioral change among other groups, be it obedience or fear towards those in power. For many of us, we thoughtlessly obey the status quo because it is easier to just go with the flow (in the short-term), but some of us are wary of how these power structures may affect our lives (in the long-term) and are ready to challenge them. *Disclaimer: I am not implying that this is in anyway similar to or has the same degree of seriousness as systemic racism.
As a vegan, I am writing this story from a wary and fearful perspective, fearful that the health of millions of Americans are controlled by the meat and dairy industry and their accomplices. Multitudes of research have shown that the consumption of red meat and dairy leads to chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Yet, millions of Americans unknowingly and obediently live their lives in this rigged system, being thoughtless consumers that do not question the world that they live in.
Aside from revealing the corrupt system that we live in, the video also shows how much grocery stores, as corporations, care about the health and well-being of their customers. If these corporations truly cared about you and your health, they would feature whole foods upfront instead of processed food products, meat, and dairy. Let us now wake up from our slumber of thoughtless consumption and start thinking about what matters to us and our bodies in the long-run. It is time we put the power of health back into our hands, not corporations. It is time we took care of our own health and reduce our reliance on big pharma, the privatized healthcare system, and the government. As we learn to take care of our health through food, we are less susceptible to falling ill and having to rely on these corporations.
Regaining control of your health begins with your diet; what you put into your body determines the outcome of your health. The average American eats 3 times a day, dedicating up to 2.5 hours towards eating and drinking. We currently invest a significant amount of time into fueling the needs of our body, but like all investments, it is important that our investments provide us with great and sustainable returns for the long-run. Take a look at the stock and financial markets and you will see how short-term investments are perpetuating and accelerating market crashes and booms. This short-term focus creates volatility, insecurity, and a whole lot of stress and anxiety.
The best investments payoff in the long-term while providing sustainable returns in the short-run. When we eat, it should not be merely for the goal of satisfying our hunger and cravings but for the greater goal of nourishing our bodies. For some of you, it may be a huge leap to adopt a plant-based diet, and that is totally understandable. The main takeaway from this story is not for me to convince anyone to go vegan, but to awaken the healthy person inside you and for you to challenge the rigged system we live in.
So, what can you do right now?
- Reflect on your current diet and health status.
Think about what your daily diet consists of. Do you feel like what you eat is making you healthy? Eat more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole-grains. Avoid eating meat, meat products, dairy, and processed food products.
2. Plan out your health goals for the next 10, 20, 30 years.
Determining how you want to live your life for the next 10, 20, 30 years can help you make better decisions. If your goal is to be cancer-free in the next 30 years, you will actively avoid making decisions that expose you to carcinogens.
3. Create a healthy diet/meal plan and stick to it for 3 months.
Yes, 3 months is a long time, but if you do it long enough it will become a habit. Consult a dietitian and do your research before embarking on a diet plan.
4. Shop for whole-foods when grocery shopping.
Buy your groceries at your local farmers market if possible as most of the products are fresh and minimally processed. When shopping at the grocery store or local co-op, skip the aisles and head straight to the fresh produce section. Whole-foods have all the nutrients you need and do not contain preservatives and additives.
5. Read the labels
If you are going to buy processed foods, always read the labels before making your purchase. It always pays to know what goes into your food. Stay away from unnecessary additives and preservatives in your food.
Now go forth and live your happy and healthy lives. Take care and stay well!
Min Xiang is the founder of Flourish Food, a plant-based food service social enterprise that is committed to help its customers and the local community live healthy, fulfilling lives. Flourish Food provides health and nutritional resources to its customers so they are able to make better health decisions.