Velo, Rapido | This is about a few different things.
I started this blog thinking I was going to write a lot more about food and diet and the basic theory that groundbreaking study upon earthshattering discovery seems to consistently confirm: that a balanced diet and some decadences in moderation are good for you. This shocking study has found that unsaturated fat is better for you than saturated fat. Whoah! Okay, so the big discovery is that small amounts of saturated fat have an impact quickly, but the big picture remains. Don’t eat processed food. Got it. It turns out that MSNBC is rife with this stuff. Another study has revealed that people who eat more vegetables get more vitamins, and that (I’m paraphrasing here) if you don’t eat a lot of rich food, but rather eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and whole grains, you can eat more with out getting fat. Whoah again! Vegetables have vitamins? Rich food is more filling? I’m shocked.
Meanwhile, I think I have Tracie McMillan to thank for the recent appearance of 2% milk at the New Millenium Grocery and Deli. She’ll say she only writes about it, but the truth is that without reporters who actually follow nutrition access nothing will ever change. Bodegas will continue to stock only whole milk. Now that she’s got a bit of a blog herself, on the Huffington Post, I am hoping that lettuce is just around the corner. Okay, that might take a while. but I’m ready.
For those who missed it the first ten times I told this story (I’m not even sure it isn’t lurking on the blog someplace), one of the most shocking awakenings I’ve every had in NYC came one day in the laundromat, where a young boy, not more than six, was sobbing hysterically and getting snot all over himself. I don’t remember what set it off. I was having a hard time ignoring the scene, and it was clear that he wasn’t stopping anytime soon so I sat down next to him and asked how he was doing. He looked at me bewildered and hiccuped. I asked if he was into pokemon (it was on his shirt) and he said no. I asked what he had for lunch today, since he seemed to be easily distracted from crying, I figured I’d just keep asking him questions until he calmed down. For lunch today, he told me that he’d had a cookie and a chocolate milk. And his friend? Fritos. For lunch. Granted I’m sure the caloric intake was more than adequate, but WTF? No wonder he couldn’t stop crying. He was having a big ole sugar crash. This is why nutrition access is a problem.
The Ecologist ran a great story a few months back about the role of sugar and nutritional deficits in violent crime. One study they looked at, from 1983(!) found that when incarcerated teens were given healthier snacks (primary feature: less refined sugar), there was a 75% reduction in the use of restraints and a 100% reduction in suicides; another study found a 77% drop in assaults among incarcerated teens put on a better diet. This stuff isn’t even news. 1983?
I don’t have a good solution for you. In prisons, okay. I do: feed prisoners healthier food. But beyond prisons? I’m not so sure. You’ll have to look to Tracie for the answers.