At home over the holidays I watched more news in a few days with my Dad than I do all year long. As I was finishing my morning oatmeal (Bob’s Red Mill, my longtime favorite) and Dad channel surfed, I asked, to no one in particular, “Have you noticed how many people have lost their head these days?”
I am not talking about the newscasters ranting over political debates – I’m talking about the ones where the pictures are focused solely on a person’s torso. Millions of headless photos highlight the national obesity epidemic every day in the media. As a student and a soon to be Registered Dietitian, I immediately choked down a swelling fear – “I am going to be a Registered Dietitian in a few months, this is my issue! I need to do something. What am I going to do to help these folks?”
We live in a challenging food environment that makes it difficult to make the healthy choice. Food marketing and advertisement is ubiquitous, literally at every turn of our day, encouraging you to eat everything, literally. We have normalized so many products as “food,” I find myself in a constant struggle to actually classify these items as food. When and how did picking up “food” in a white sack from a window within 45 seconds of ordering it become normal much less considered food?
We are in the midst of a paradigm shift; one that precedes government policy and it is changing our culture for the healthier. I am proud to be joining the esteemed ranks of Registered Dietitians in the near future, even if it does cause me to panic, just a little. I know I do not have the answers but I did realize there are many things I CAN do:
1.) I can support legislative efforts the change our food environment.
2.) I can keep “Fresh on Flavel” – a garden for those bus and MAX commuters to pick fresh vegetables from my garden.
3.) I can avoid any food that has at commercial, and urge others to do the same.
4.) I can help make my corner of SE Portland a little bit safer by leading petitions to arrest known dealers and condemn meth houses so kids can go out and play.
5.) I can vote with my dollars (In my opinion- this is the most powerful vote we can cast, and we do it every day, multiple times a day).
6.) I can help people find their head and be able to smile when their picture is taken.
I believe our future depends on continuing to support the paradigm shift; where we can lower the obesity rates and improve health, not by a pill or the latest surgery, but by a simply providing a serving of fresh vegetables and a sidewalk safe to skip along.
Be well, vote smart, and remember to play.