An abundance of nothing…

"Food is very, very cheap in the U.S. compared to most countries," he explains. "But the fact is you end up with people malnourished in one of the richest countries because they don’t have access to fresh vegetables at a cheap enough price to make a balanced diet."

via Where In The World Is The Best Place For Healthy Eating? : The Salt : NPR.

We have lots of food in the U.S. Way more than we need. But most of it isn’t worth eating. In third world countries you have people who are genuinely starving, while in the United States we have people who are simultaneously obese and suffering from malnutrition.

If you’re looking to the Government to solve this problem, well good luck with that. The USDA guidelines on nutrition have been revised twice in recent history, and both times the revisions showed the obvious influence of an agricultural industry that has a vested interest in making sure we eat and drink things that are demonstrably bad for us in order to maintain their profit margins. Just look at the push-back that First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to try to stem the tide of childhood obesity. A First Lady wants to help improve the health of children and there’s political opposition to it. Just let that sink in for a moment to grasp how impossible it is for our Government to do anything useful or constructive related to nutrition.

Nope, you’re going to have to take control of this for yourselves. If you’ve got the means, go spend some time in Europe. You’ll see a cultural relationship to food that’s utterly different from what you’re used to here. You’ll also notice that overweight people are pretty rare. If you don’t have the means, then read articles online like this one from Psychology Today about mindful eating.

If you talk to me enough about food you’ll hear me repeat that phrase over and over again – mindful eating. How does it work? Don’t eat when you’re doing something else. No eating at your desk at work, not eating while watching TV, surfing the internet or playing video games. Eating is an activity unto itself. Sit at a table, make a place setting for yourself and fully engage with your food. One of the things that will happen if you do this is that you will stop eating junk, because when you fully engage with an unsatisfying robo-snack it will be bound to be a disappointing experience.

Oh, and don’t snack, actually. If you need to eat more often than three times a day, have four or five smaller meals, but don’t snack. And eat a variety of whole, actual foods. If it comes in a box, bag or a can, avoid it. As Michael Pollan says, “If it is a plant, eat it. If it’s made in a plant, don’t.”

Like most types of positive change in this country, if we want to see them, we need to make it happen ourselves. The only way the food choices in this country will improve is if we stop making bad choices.

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