For Those Who Go Beyond Boundaries

You Are What You Eat

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While shopping for groceries, I decided to stop at one of my favorite supermarkets in the Washington D.C. area. But, I was little hungry, so before I hit them up; I dropped by “Chopped“. For those of you who don’t know what a ‘chopped’ is, Chopped is a fast food restaurant that serves an assortment of healthy and tasty salads for anyone trying to maintain a healthy diet. I discovered Chopped during my first quarter of school at the Art Institute of Washington D.C.


I grabbed a salad bowl that contained a mouth watering arugula and baby spinach mix, a few tasty and fresh veggies (mushrooms, unions, tomatoes, bell peppers, heart of artichoke, carrots and a sunflower seeds if I’m not mistaken). Then I added tuna for protein and topped it off with a red wine balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I finished the purchase with a pomegranate and cranberry Nantucket, and a sweet yet simple dark chocolate  fudge bar square. Total ring up $15.00. From there I stopped at Sunoco gas station and put about $20.00 in my tank, which brought the needle to almost half a tank. That should last me….a day….which isn’t much with driving between school and work.

Once I arrived at Wegmans I started to fill up my basket with some of the same healthy items placed in my salad. But after about an hour or so of me browsing around Wegmans, I started to to hungry again. So, I plopped down at the sushi bar, and ordered a spider roll, with a dragon roll, and hot green tea. Sipping on my miso soup, I decided that some hot sake would be in order, since it was a little chilly outside. Total ring up $35.00

While I was eating I started to notice the variety of people shopping and dinning in at this popular food chain. They where all of various ethnicity, seem to be employed in lucrative careers, and they all looked healthy. Everyone’s basket was filled to the brim with the many foods and produce recommended by the American Heart Association, to maintain a healthy height weight standard; and to combat such illnesses as Hyper Tension, Heart Disease, Diabetes  and Cancer. Everyone was happy and cheerful. No one was rude, pushy, or overly aggressive, and you could find everything you needed and then some at what most of us would assume to be an affordable price for organic meats and produce. Total ring up for purchases in basket $120.00

Being  the absent minded individual I am, I forget a few things and had to stop at Wal Mart to grab them on  my way back home. In which the atmosphere in there was like hell. People where rude, they use their buggies to push in your path so they could get what they wanted; and I never had anyone utter the words “excuse me” or “How are you” like I did in Wegmans. I witnessed this colossal woman, wearing a badly mitch-matched outfit, with tons of weave, curse out the cashier because she felt she was being short changed $2.00 on her total ring up. STORE SECURITY had to be called in to calm this big woman down while escorting her out the door where she was greeted by Fair Fax County Police. As I’m watching this dram unfold, I started to notice that everyone in WalMart (darn near) was over weight. They where using the state equivalent debit card for ‘food stamps’ and you could tell that most of them did  not have much money. Now, this is judging a book by its cover because I don’t know these people; but it was very obvious that I would not see the clientele of WalMart in Wegmans anytime soon.

Every time the American media wants to focus on the issue of obesity in this grate nation, we see pictures of morbidly obese women and men who resemble that of the customers in WalMart. Its normally B-reel footage of a black woman waddling in a cross-walk as her whole body sways in motion with her extremely huge rear end. The camera then does a jump shot to a middle aged, balding white man sitting at a park bench, guzzling a Grande Cafe Moca from Star Bucks and smoking. Not to mention the fact that he’s almost always always suffering from ‘dun-lop’  (meaning his belly ‘done lopped’ over the top of his belt and trousers).  Our media strategically focuses on these specific people because American society has counted them amongst the ranks of individuals who seemly don’t care about their health much less over all appearance. We’ve deemed them unattractive, and unworthy of being acknowledge as the epitome of pride in America, because we  mistakenly assume they’re fat because they have no pride in themselves.

With all the money I spent between Chopped, Sunoco, And Wegmans I spent about $200.00+; all within about a 2 to 4 hour time span. But I can afford to do so. I make enough money annually between my job and monies for school to be able to splurge a little on a meals that I could have prepared at home.

But what about the people shopping at Wal Mart?

What about the folks who’re unemployed, and living on unemployment benefits (if they haven’t run out)?

The big girl at the counter in WalMart was complaining about that additional $200 because that could have been money that she would need to purchase milk for her baby, or to put with what ever change she has to get gas. Or, it could have assisted with paying her electricity bill to keep her children and herself heated during the harsh winter. So even thought that $200 she was fighting mad over meant nothing to me, it may have had significant value for her in regards to survival.

I’ve found that people in lover income communities are not able to afford sitting at a sushi bar in Wegams; paying $20.00 for gas and spending $13.00+ dollars at chopped for a salad that will leave them and their family hungry 20min later. They have to purchase what’s both affordable, and what will keep them full until its time to go to bed. Which happens to be junk food. The foods that are only available in impoverished communities are in most cases franchise fast food restaurants who’s over all objective is profit and not community health (i.e. Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Hell and Jack in the Crack).

McDonald’s is the biggers repeat offender of diabetes and obesity in the Black community; because they pose as being care-givers to the community, while pumping out value meals that contain a 500+ caloric fat count. Most of the corner store shops don’t carry fresh fruits and vegetables, or organic, chemical/hormone free meats. They have boxed, frozen T.V. Dinners and pizzas (600+ calories a pop), 40 oz Mad Dog’s, 20/20, and ‘grab and snack’ type items. Example the hot dog weenies that have been rolling in grease under a heat lamp, the beef patties and tripple dipped, batter fried chicken wings (at least we hope its chicken) and sky-rocket sodium drenched bags of chips.  If they do have produce, its normally the scavenged left overs from such super markets as Wegmans, in which no self-respecting customer who frequents Wegmans   would buy.And these mom and pop corners stores have the nerves to charge more for their items than that of Wegmans, even though the quality of their produce Fing sucks!

Thus the foods in lower-income communities look like this

The shit you shouldn't be eating

Verses like this

The stuff you need to eat to stay alive

To understand why minorities who reside in lower income and impoverished communities are over weight, even lazy, pushy and die soon; you must understand that their diets contribute to such deficiencies. The inability to access foods (or afford foods) that are rich in omega ‘3s and anti-oxidants; or assist in promoting a heart healthy diet is what contributes to newly reported cases of Type 1 and 2 diabetes and heart hyper tension. Lets not forget that many of them refuse to see the doctor to routine  check up; because they either can’t afford the co-pays or they lack insurance over all. Yes, there are free clinics, but they’re staffing, testing and services are limited due to a lack of funding.

The foods that they can afford, are killing them! They’re working dead end jobs that are high in stress, and leaves little to no time or money to sit down and eat a healthy meal. For some of the kids in these communities, the only time they eat anything is when they’re at school. So for them, school constitutes a free food source  vs. a free education. And this is why many of them attend school sleepy, hungry, cranky and unable to concentrate while in class, because they’re not eating anything at home.  Thus, leading to the inability to concentrate on the materials and actively par take in class activities. They fall behind other students who eat healthy and become disruptive during class time instruction because they’re hungry, and their home life sucks.

It was stated that Gen. William T. Sherman of the Union Army had some of the most well trained, effective killing machines under his command. One of the reasons why they where so affective was because all of his soldiers where well fed. He ensured that everyone had proper meals that enhanced nutrition suitable for a strong body and sound mind. They could carry out military instruction with precision because their bellies where not touching their spin.  How can we expect our youth to be of the same caliber as Sherman’s army in school, if they’re over weight, unable to participate in athletics and can’ t hear the teacher’s lecture  over the grumbling over their stomach’s?


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