While hiking, I had a heated conversation with a friend regarding whether food deserts are a major cause of obesity, high blood pressure and other health problems in the Black community. Lack of access to fresh food at an affordable cost is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed.
If you don’t have food that’s in your best interest (fresh produce) right at your fingertips, most people will replace it with what is not in their best interest (highly process and fast food). However, even when people do have fresh produce at their immediate disposal, many will skip over it and still opt for the foods that produce diseases like obesity, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
In those cases, food addiction comes into play, as well as the seductive lure of advertisements. And, obviously, some people just don’t give a damn. That said, I’m of the opinion that your outside circumstances can be overridden by an internal change of perspective. When I transitioned to plant-based eating more than 30 years ago, I started to see healthier options available to me that I never noticed before. But that happened because of the information I started pouring into my mind that opened my eyes.
At the beginning of my transition, I read books like “Afrikan Holistic Health” and “Back to Eden.” I listened to Dick Gregory and others talking about eating better. Then, lo and behold, health food restaurants became visible. I started noticing and reading labels on food packaging. More vegetable options started popping up on food menus.
Was it magic or was it me?
Even in the direst circumstances, there are some better food choices we all can make. Those options are more visible and viable when your mind is turned on, even if you must travel outside of the food desert to satisfy yourself.
Yes, those options may require more energy and wherewithal than you think you may have, but you’ll find it’s well worth it once you take the first few steps. Be patient with yourself and let the light shine through.