Food Insecurities

The way in which I lost weight was a blessing. I had no idea that the foods I was able to attain and even restrict were a sign of privilege. During this past month I was involved in a cycling tour from coast to coast of the United States. Our goal was to travel from city to city to interview people about their view of life. As we were traveling we would encounter small towns where there was one gas station. There was no grocery store. Then we would pass another town with no grocery store. We would eventually find a town with a restaurant where we would have lunch. America might be diverse but every menu was the same. It included burgers, fries, green beans, meatloaf and mash potatoes just to name a few. These are not the healthiest options. And to make it worse most of it was from a can or box.  This really opened my eyes to some American’s nutritional life. Many parts of America are unable to get fresh vegetables or meats. They live in parts of the country that doesn’t have a local grocery store. Some people have a hard time choosing healthy options because they have a hard time acquiring these foods. When I was trying to eat healthier and take care of my body, I lived in a major city. I could choose whatever vegetable or lean meat I wanted. And it was pretty fresh for the most part. This realization has made me sensitive in what I say on my fitness blog. I can’t just say eat vegetables like it’s that easy, there are complications that I am not aware of. 

Also while we were traveling across the country, we came upon a Santa Rosa, New Mexico where I met Sarah Kate Cogar. Sarah Kate is a summer food service program compliance officer. Her job is to travel around New Mexico to visit organizations that provide food to children who are considered food insecure. Food insecure is when a person is unable to attain “access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” Many children rely on school lunches to get food, but when school is not in session, they don’t have a reliable source of food. Sarah Kate’s job is to lead local organizations to fix this problem. After meeting her, I learned that New Mexico is the third largest population of food insecure children. The Summer Food Service Program for Children is a federally funded program. It was “created by Congress in 1968 after studies had uncovered the direct link between a child’s ability to learn in school and their nutritional intake.”

Sarah Kate’s heart for these kids was so precious and refreshing to watch. Sharing a nutritious meal with someone is a great way to connect with all cultures. This interaction opened my eyes to people’s struggles to get food, let allow healthy food. I am not sure how to advice my audience with this sensitivity. It sounds vague if I am not able to tell people what is healthy and what is not, but it also sounds insensitive if I list a bunch of items that are not accessible to all. I didn’t expect to learn these things on my cycling journey, but I am glad I did.

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