Good Food Is an Important Economic issue

                Some citizens in urban communities are experiencing two critical problems in accessing quality foods. The first issue is physical access to good stores with those foods. The second part of the access problem is the lack of financial resources to purchase those foods. The first part of the access problem defines a food desert. Food deserts are often short on whole food providers, especially fresh fruits and vegetables; instead, they are heavy on local quickie marts that provide a wealth of processed, sugar, and fat laden foods that are known contributors to our nation’s obesity epidemic.   These communities are not financially viable enough in the eyes of economic developers for a quality grocery store.

                If a citizen could get to a quality grocery store, then money is needed to purchase quality foods. Many full time working citizens need assistance to purchase “good food” which is provided by SNAP.  Certain governors are requiring financial means testing for citizens participating in the SNAP program. Financial means testing could further limit access to quality foods for low income individuals sometimes these same citizens may have a chronic illness.  Good food is even more important when one is ill. On a micro product cost access level, customers may pay a small premium for non- processed food, which creates another hurdle for those trying to stretch their financial resources.

                If a potential customer had SNAP, they may still experience challenges accessing a “good grocery store” because of demographics. We are defining better grocery as one having good fruits, vegetables, quality meats, and carrying an assortment of vegetarian options. Generally, the better grocery stores such as a Wegman’s or Traders Joe target a certain demographic. Sadly, the urban cities with food desert problems don’t fit the general demographic profile of viable environments to open such a store.

                In an attempt to be balanced and fair, large cities are trying to address inequalities regarding access to quality foods. Camden which is a great model for a city improving its health developed a coalition of health providers, pharmaceutical companies, local government, and public health officials focused on improving the community’s health. The city is now providing open air fresh food markets to its citizens. New York City is well known for its efforts related to urban farming, which is changing the food landscape in the city. Lastly, I must give kudos to my favorite city the nation’s capitol. They are leveraging social media and coupling it with access to good food. Kudos, Washington DC!

                The solution to the food economic problem is twofold. Citizens need access to quality grocery stores. Society through government programs needs to provide the financial support via SNAP, so citizens can buy better foods.  Lastly, we can each support this effort by electing officials that want to improve its community health!

 

Links

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/health/23well.html?_r=0

http://kansasagnetwork.com/2013/05/talks-heat-up-on-farm-bill/

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2013/05/08/fresh-deprived-camden-gets-a-mobile-fruits-and-veggies-store/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/washingtons-green-grocer-farmers-market_n_2426712.html

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/04/food_stamp_recipients_on_the_d.html

Food Desert Information

http://americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/usda-defines-food-deserts

Getting healthy for the summer….

 

The summer months are here, so as a result everyone is trying to get healthier.  As I have been reading lately a couple of things have caught my eye about this topic. Additionally, I based the list below on my experiences as well as trying to being realistic about what people could do. Here are my tips for being healthy for the summer:

1.       Adding or squeezing some lemon in your water.  It is a great drink for removing toxins from your body.

2.       Drinking both more iced tea and green tea. Tea is great for your overall health and your metabolism.

3.       Take a small step towards exercising more like walking a bit more.  An easy way to do this is to explore your neighborhood.

4.       In combination with exercise, explore fat burning supplement such as Raspberry Ketones. Please consultant your physician before taking a supplement. Ketones are a great appetite suppressant and fat burner.

5.       If you are out with friends and want to drink, try a light beer or cocktail with low calorie liquor. Heineken Light, Amstel Light, and Bethanny Frankel (sangria or margarita mix) make great light drinks.

6.       Reward yourself when you do the right thing as far as your health i.e. buy that purse you been eyeing, go to the movies, or buy yourself some new tools.

7.       Split up your workout throughout the day. So for example, I will do calisthenics in the am. During lunch, I will spend the whole hour walking. In the evening, I will do either cardio or yoga for a half hour.

8.       The Kellogg brothers understand the importance of regularity as it relates the bathroom. In that vein, one should strive to excrete after each small meal eaten. This minimizes one’s weight gain, therefore makes you appear smaller.  A few additional items added to your diet such as either a probiotic or increasing your intake of fruit/vegetable can increase your bathroom activities.

9.       It is the summer time, so nix the fried food and meats. At the very least, one can minimize them because diets with less of these items tend to be healthier.

10.   Have fun and explore new foods! Also forgive yourself, if you fall off the good food wagon and eat the wrong things one day. Please just try to get back on the wagon the next day! I will be here to cheer you on!

 Have a great summer!