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Food And The South

It is well known that the South has become a hot spot when it comes to the obesity crisis in America. Tennessee, the state I live in, is the buckle of the diabetes belt with over 30% of adults obese. If you also count in adults who are overweight it comes to over 60%. With that being said it is not hard to figure out why these numbers are so high. People eat like crap.

From my own experience it is very difficult to find a wide array of healthy food products in just one store. We have Bi-Lo Publix, Food Lion, Walmart, Whole Foods and an Earth Fare. Often I’ll be searching for ingredients for recipes and I will have to hit three different stores just to find what I need. Many of the grocery stores, if not all, in the lower income areas carry a very poor selection of fresh fruits and veggies and seem to center around their in-store deli foods, such as fried chicken and chicken salad.

Way back in the bad old days people ate fried foods down here because they were  cheaper to make than fancier dishes. Instead of progressing away from that the South is still stuck in a rut. Even if people can afford better food they will still pick a chicken biscuit over a bowl of healthy cereal. I’ve had several different people tell me that they will eat the foods that they love until the day that ‘God’ decides that it’s their time to go. So, not only do you have generational eating habits that are bad you have  religious dogma thrown into the mix for good measure.

You are surrounded by bad food down here. Yes, all of America is crowded with fast food shops, but down here there are also a huge amount of buffet restaurants. I used to live on the West Coast and I never saw as many Asian buffet type places out there as I see here. Seriously, you can’t go down a main street without finding one. They all reheat the same unhealthy Sysco shipped frozen food and the people swarm into them like locusts. Also, there are a lot of  ‘down home’ type places that serve almost nothing but fried foods.

To be quite honest I think the only way things are going to change down here is if people get better access to good food and realize that it doesn’t cost a ton of money to eat healthy. The prevailing attitude around here is that only the rich yuppies go to Whole Foods and Earth Fare. Okay a lot of them do! However, my boyfriend and I don’t earn that much money and have begun to buy food that is better for us.