Every single day in the office we spend at LEAST 1 hour trying to figure out what we’re going to eat for our midday meal. Because we’re surrounded by the (neighbor)hood, healthy options are nonexistant (a fast food salad with fried chicken on it doesn’t count) and the chicken joints get old after a week or two. As a result I’ve lightweight quit eating lunch.
On the Yancey side of my family, the women are semi-obsessed with healthy eating options, exercise and counting calories. After years of going against the Yancey-woman grain and eating whatever I want whenever I want, my body has began fighting me on that. My stomach cramps up and starts hurting, I have to fight the urge to vomit and I ultimately feel lousy. I’ve had to find healthier foods. Gone are my days of eating spicy wings, highly caffeinated and sugary pop and heavy, greasy fried foods. I now opt for grilled or baked options and have cut down on my portion sizes.
But this has all lead me to wonder about the Black community at large…for those that are stuck in the (neighbor)hood, they have EXTREMELY limited options. And chances are they don’ t have a heavy presence, such as close family members or friends, encouraging them to make healthier lifestyle choices. Heck, even for the people who do want to make those changes, ignorance can halt an impactful change.
One would think that a salad from McDonald’s is a healthier choice than a basic burger. After piling on fried chicken along with all that dressing the person would have been better off with their basic burger. And even regarding exercise, it seems like such a tedious task, but if they knew of the impact that a simple walk around the block or to the store could make, I truly believe change could come.
Last fall our office manager was cripled by a stroke. While she has suffered from diabetes for years, she wasn’t managing it the best and her stroke ensued. She has not returned to 100% of her full capabilities and is in weekly physical therapy. It’s no secret that our lunch options in the office every day helped cause this. All that fried chicken with fried okra, fried fish with french fries and fried smothered pork chops with greens and macaroni and cheese took it’s toll on her health.
This all makes me SO sad. It’s a major issue. The only fruits these children see are “grape drink” and “cherry kool-aid.” Adults cook packs of ramen noodles and call it dinner. Kroger’s, the only commercial grocery store in the city (we’re not going to count Sav-A-Lot or Mor-For-Less) offers the healthier food, but at crazily high prices. If you already don’t have a lot to spend, the last thing you’re trying to do is spend more money on less food. And let’s be honest, Church’s Chicken’s Tuesday Special of $0.99 for a fried chicken two-piece is one heck of a deal. Mrs. Obama has begun the change with the healthy lifestyle initiative she’s pushing, but when I look outside, I’ve yet to see evidence of it’s impact.
What do you all think? What small, daily changes can we make to affect change?