fruits-n-veggies

Food is important--we all need it to survive. Many of us have varying dietary restrictions/needs, while some of us choose our own. This is all great, except when judgments are made and privilege is not acknowledged.  I'm not vegan; I'm not even vegetarian, but I also don't really identify with being a carnivore, even though I do eat meat from time to time. I try to be as conscious as I can with regard to what I put in my body. I believe we all should be aware of this. My issue, however, comes about when I hear people placing their diet on a pedestal--a "my-diet-is-better-than-yours" pedestal. It's judgmental, and it's ridiculous.

I understand that, if you live a certain way and it works well for you, you inevitably want to share this with others. I get that--I'm that way about feminism. However, I truly can't stand when others are looked down on because of their dietary choice. What works for you may not work for someone else for many reasons. The statement of "Eat Organic All The Time" isn't always helpful. Some people can't eat organic--especially all the time. Eating organic costs money. If you tell people in poverty-stricken areas (i.e. southside of Chicago) to "EAT ORGANIC" they're not going to because 1). cost, and 2). location (there isn't a Whole Foods, for example on the southside of Chicago). *Note: I'm not assuming that everyone on the southside is poor, and can't afford organic--I'm speaking generally.

It takes a certain amount of privilege to eat organic—and when that privilege is not acknowledged, I have a problem. If you want people on the southside of Chicago (or other areas of poverty) to purchase organic food, then make it cheaper! As research shows, people in poverty-stricken areas tend to eat more unhealthy foods, because that’s what they can afford, and also because there isn't enough information about healthy eating in these parts of the country.

We simply can't beat each other up, because of the dietary choices we make. You don't always know where someone is coming from--not everyone has a choice. Children, for example, must eat whatever their parents provide. I certainly don't chastise people who don't eat meat, so I expect the same respect in turn. Because I've been on food stamps this past year, I haven't been eating as organically as I would like to due to cost. I try to get a few organic items, but I can't afford to get everything organic--I just don't have the resources to do this. I'm hoping this will change since I started a new (and awesome) job recently, which will afford me a more comfortable income.

It's great to be aware of what you put into your body if you can, but there is also so much else to think about in life. People who live in fear of getting shot and killed probably aren't going to worry too much about what food they eat. Homeless people certainly won't be worrying about this either. You kind of have to choose your battles and choose wisely. As yoga instructor Rolf Gates says, "...we can eat to live, not live to eat..." (Gates, 50). If we, at the very least, work within this framework, then we are doing something.

Remember to acknowledge your privilege, and be accountable to yourself.

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