Part of the problem I have with just telling folks to "eat real food" is that is just such a large case of "your privilege is showing."
What if you don't have access to "real food?" What if you don't have access to the information to prepare it? I think that rather than telling people to just eat real food and figure out how to cook it, we should be pushing to educate people on the food they eat, where it comes from, etc. Additionally IT SHOULD BE EASIER TO GET REAL FOOD. Nothing makes me angrier than the fact that it's really difficult for people to just buy some freaking fresh food!
As a teacher I've had the experience in working in drastically different neighborhoods. My first job, right out of college, was in a private school in a nice area of NYC. Nice grocery stores and restaurants; real, fresh, healthy food was easy to come by. If I forgot my lunch there were a variety of places where I could grab something healthy. The children at this school often had parents who had the ability, education level, and income to prepare healthy meals.
My second job was in one of the poorest and crime-ridden areas of NYC. There were grocery stores, but they were small and few and far between. Restaurants and eateries were mainly fast food joints. One of my students' mothers lamented that she had to go far out of her way just to buy some vegetables that were halfway decent! Many of my students lived in public housing, had one (or both) parents out of the picture and no access to the internet outside of a smartphone, school, or the library. Many of them would come into my room in the morning with a soda and a bag of chips for "breakfast." What else did they know though? All the stores around only sold such things and who knows if there was money for breakfast? Thankfully the lunches given to the children were pretty healthy (but they could have been better). There was a breakfast program, but trying to get middle school kids up early enough is a challenge when most of them don't have a parent to push them out of bed.
My third job was in the suburbs in a middle class neighborhood. Not quite like my first job, but all my students definitely had access to fresh food. Still, many had no knowledge of how to prepare it (I had upper high school here—they should be able to cook at this stage of the game!). They had the foundation: i.e. they knew it was better to choose a piece of fruit over a packaged cookie, but would choose take out over cooking. As a home instructor, I spent a lot of time in their houses and with their families. When cooking would come up in conversation, some families were surprised at how "fun" and "easy" it was after I mentioned how I prepared food.
Access to food and information is really a big hurdle. I didn't realize it until I spent so much time in a food dessert. It really makes me grateful that I could literally walk to the grocery store and buy fresh food, or that I have the money to own a car which allows me to drive to other nearby grocery stores and buy fresh food. I have the means to own a computer, go online, and research how to eat healthy.
If you have the means to eat real food, then awesome! That's great. Be grateful you have that opportunity, but realize that there are so many others that don't have the means to just "eat real food."
Last edited by sontaikle : 07-11-2013 at 10:58 PM.