Food

Food Deserts Mean Poor Health for North Tulsans

Opinion | Ifaseyi F. Amusan

Managing Editor | Liz Frank

We’ve all heard the explanations:

“It’s in our genes.”

“You know my grandmother is big-boned, so that made my momma big-boned and the end result is that I’m big-boned.”

“No matter what I do, it sticks with me.”

“I drink nothing but water and still gain 10 pounds.”

“It’s got to be the GENES, right!?!”

“Maybe it’s what I eat.”

“But I only eat fruits and berries.”

“I’m on a high protein, low carb diet.”

“I’ve given up on all fats, sugar, and carbs.”

“I only eat once a day and drink lots of water.”

“I’m on paleo diet.”

“I’m on a portion diet.”

“I’m on a diabetic diet.”

For many of us, this sounds all-too familiar. What makes us fat is our bad eating habits and every item we choose to let pass our lips. In some cases there is no good choice or variety of options for healthier eating.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, about 23.5 million people live in food deserts. The USDA defines food deserts as places where income levels are low (which means community members most likely don’t own their own vehicle), public transportation is non-existent or impractical, and stores that sell fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods are more than a mile away.

Nearly half of the 23.5 million people that live in food deserts live below the poverty line. Approximately 2.3 million people, which is about 2.2% of all U.S. households, live in low-income, rural areas that are more than 10 miles from a supermarket.

food desert map

Residents of food deserts also have a hard time finding foods that are culturally traditional, or foods that meet dietary restrictions.

So how do we win the battle against fat? Educate ourselves on what makes us and what kills us. We have to change our approach to food. We’ve been trained to eat to live, but the approach should be to eat to survive.

Change Your Habits in Four Simple Steps:

  1. Get out of the fast lane. We are always rushing to get from point A to B to C and D, trying to cram 40 hours of tasks into 24 hours. We ignore our bodies’ needs and pickup quick junk in between tasks that do us no good and eventually, we become what we eat.  Plan your meals in advance to avoid the rush.
  2. Water. I can’t express how important is to drink water, and enough of it. Find a fun way to increase your intake like trying fruit-infused water.Fruit-Infused-Water
  3. Cut back on starches and sugars. These groups work against our bodies, and they created our biggest food battle. And if you live and shop in a food desert, then you’re living to die. Food desert inhabitants are accustomed to a diet heavy in starch and sugar, which causes subsequent generations to become used to this diet, and identify it as comfort food. This has to change. If it doesn’t, then we will outlive our children. Simply put, sugar is killing us. Every body is different, find out what diet works for you.
  4. Sleep. I’ve listed this last, but it could easily be at the top of the list. Sleep allows your body to rest because your body needs time to regenerate to be healthy.

I hope that this list will help you improve your well-being and enhance your health. My hope is to help the world heal by teaching others to become more responsible food consumers. Don’t believe the advertising hype. Do your homework on what you consume; it’s your body. Choose now to start making choices that will enhance your well-being.

If you would like more information or recipes email please email the author at chefnike911@gmail.com.

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